WALLINGFORD — Sheehan senior Beth Arnold lets it be known when she’s on the field.
The goaltender has been known to startle even her teammates when she yells for them to clear out so she can scoop up a loose ball in the box.
“KEEPER!” she yells as loud as she can.
Yelling as loud as she can on the field was a lesson Arnold first learned when she was in sixth grade, and she hasn’t forgotten it.
Sheehan coach Rob Huelsman calls her “Tarzan.” Arnold will be continuing her Tarzan yell on the Division I level next year. She has committed to play at Iona College.
“I’m very excited and I can’t wait until I step on the field and play with my team,” Arnold said this week. “It’s a dream of mine since I started playing soccer … This is like a dream come true.”
Huelsman said Arnold is the first Division I player Sheehan girls soccer has produced in 11 years. The 2009 Titans had two in Janie Schlauter and Gianna Massa. Schlauter went to Manhattan, Massa to Rhode Island.
Last year’s Sheehan blue-chipper, Olivia Dubuc, went to the Division II University of Tampa in Florida.
Arnold, 17, received a partial athletic scholarship from Iona, a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference school in New Rochelle, N.Y. where Meriden’s Damika Martinez starred in basketball. Arnold plans on studying physical therapy.
A varsity player throughout her four years at Sheehan and a club player with CFC United, Arnold originally got on the Iona radar a couple of years ago. The Gaels are coached by former Yale assistant coach Tom Plourde. Their roster includes Jordan Beaudoin, a defender out of Southington.
Arnold made her decision to commit to Iona in April, but didn’t tell anyone until this month.
A soccer player since the age of 6, Arnold has always been a goalie.
“A lot of kids didn’t want to be goalie, so I went for it,” Arnold said. “That’s when I fell in love with the position. I’m ready to play or practice rain, shine or snow. I’m always ready.”
In her freshman year at Sheehan, Arnold saw time both as a field player and goalie as the Titans made a run to the Class M quarterfinals.
She shook off an early season injury as a sophomore and split time in net with Anna Medici that year and again as a junior in 2019, when the Titans reached the Class L semifinals.
This fall marked Arnold’s first full year as Sheehan’s full-time goalie.
Arnold credited Drew Esposito, Paul DelloStritto and Rick Kozak as big coaching influences on her play in goal.
Arnold learned early to play aggressive and be fearless in the box.
“I’ve never been afraid to come out for a ball,” Arnold said. “If I’m afraid or timid, that leaves risk for injury.
“I have confidence that I’m going to get the ball and protect myself, and I know I’m going to win it,” Arnold added. “It’s all or nothing, pretty much. My defenders also shield me so I don’t get hit hard.”
Huelsman said Arnold is fearless.
“This year she did some great things,” the Sheehan coach said. “She’s skilled and has a lot of experience in goal. She’s a tough kid and a tough competitor. She had some big saves in the win against Mercy. She had 16 saves that day. I’m hoping she will be All-State.”
Arnold was named All-SCC this week after Sheehan finished 7-3-2. She is the daughter of Lynne and Dale Arnold.