Girls HS Soccer Preview 2023

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Somers Has a Look About It; Don’t Sleep on P’Ville, Hen Hud

By Tony Pinciaro
Somers junior Tiana Righetti (R) is among the most skillful players in Section 1 this season, a year in which the Tuskers expect to challenge, as they often do, for Class AA sectional supremacy this fall.

SOMERS Coach Kelci Hegg and her team witnessed the June graduation of a talented group of seniors who were instrumental in making the Tuskers one of the elite Section 1 girls’ soccer programs in 2022.

Graduating a large contingent might hamper some programs, but Somers is primed to show that 2022’s 17-2 record is attainable with a veteran nucleus returning and the addition of talented newcomers. Somers is also out to prove the sectional semifinal 1-0 loss (via penalty kick) to Clarkstown North was an aberration.

“They scored on a penalty kick in the first half,” said senior Jordan McMorrow. “We just didn’t capitalize on our opportunities.”

McMorrow is a leader among the core unit returning for Somers. She and her teammates came into preseason well-prepared and without a break as a result of a three-day camp (Friday-Sunday) in Pennsylvania leading into the opening practice.
The dedication and willingness to spend three days of double sessions, including one day of triples, the weekend before practice began was evident by 37 Somers’ players attending.

“This was something new and Coach Hegg’s idea and she made it open to the entire program, including girls going into eighth grade,” McMorrow said. “It gave the new girls, especially, the experience of being part of Somers soccer.

“It prepared us mentally and physically. For the underclassmen, it gave them an opportunity to show themselves and get with the rest of the group. This showed how dedicated we are and how our team is a family. The bonding was just as much there as soccer. We’re like a family and it brought us together.”

Along with McMorrow, who will control the defense from her center back spot, she is joined by classmate and Fordham commit Anne Maguire.

Somers returns its high-scoring junior tandem of Julia Arbelaez (25 goals, 17 assists) and Tiana Righetti (11 goals, 10 assists). Sophomore Lily Mazzella is back on defense to form a staunch duo with McMorrow.

McMorrow has been impressed by the talent on display from the underclassmen. The new underclassmen to varsity will be called upon to step into those vacated starting positions.

One thing McMorrow, Maguire and their fellow seniors are doing is helping the newcomers make a smooth transition to varsity. McMorrow said this is one of the many things she learned from the recent graduating class, along with another important aspect.

“I was really close with a lot of the seniors and they told us you always have to be a leader, no matter what state your team is in,” McMorrow said. “The younger girls will thrive off of that energy. Now it’s my turn to help the younger girls out.”

Somers opened with its first scrimmage, against Irvington, Monday. Even though it’s only a scrimmage, McMorrow was psyched to go.

“I love to see everyone back together and the progress that everyone has made,” McMorrow said. “We have a rising junior class that I am excited to play with. We’ve been practicing hard and we’re always working at 100 percent.”

Hegg is also looking forward to her 2023 season.

“Our goal for the season is to continue our winning ways,” Hegg said. “We play a tough non-conference schedule, and of course we always have our toughest competition in league with rivals Yorktown and John Jay-Cross River.

“I truly believe that with the team we have this year, a state championship is absolutely attainable. Our team is relatively young, but I think that will benefit us in the long run. We have a culture of winning at Somers and I think this could be the year that Somers Varsity Girls Soccer gets back to the Championship.”

Hegg has cited Rye (9/12), Mahopac (9/26) and Yorktown (10/7) as a few of the marquee matchups on Somers’ schedule.

And while the Examiner-area clubs failed to capture a sectional title in 2022, the 2023 season features a ton of promise. Here’s a look at what we can expect.

Briarcliff senior F Nico Vargish is set to explode on Class B this season.


Coach: David Villalobos (third year)

2022 Record & Sectional result: 12-5, lost in Class B quarterfinal to archrival Pleasantville, 2-0.

League & League favorite: Conference III-League A.

Section favorite, Class B: I think all teams in Class B have a chance so I don’t think there’s a clear favorite.

Top returning players: Karina Bar, Sr., G (2022: All-League, All-Section Honorable Mention, 5 shutouts); Sora Marable, Sr., F (three-year starter; 2022: All-League, All-Section, 9 goals, 3 assists); Nico Vargish, Sr., F (three-year starter, 2022: All-League, 4 goals, 2 assists); Ava Makaron, Jr., M (2022: All-League, 7 goals, 3 assists); Gemma Fante, So., M (2022: All-League Honorable Mention, 1 goal, 5 assists); Mar Rivera Font, So., M/F (2022: All-League Honorable Mention, 6 goals, 2 assists).
Key newcomers: Gabriella Auguste, Fr., M; Lilah Prosperino, Fr., D; Lily Rowe, Fr., D.

Top scoring threats: Marable, Vargish, Makaron, Fante &  Rivera Font.

Lockdown defender: Makaron.

Coach’s season outlook/goals: Our main goal is to always compete and to always make the playoffs. Our obvious goal is to become section champions. We were 80 minutes away two years ago so we want to be back! Our girls are raring to go and we feel we really have a good chance this year. We didn’t lose many seniors last season, but we lost three very important players. I’m really eager to see who steps up this year. It’s always exciting to see what you have the following year and that’s what makes this even more special.

Noteworthy: Briarcliff alumni Dylan Zednik is playing at Bucknell and Gabriela Chioccola is playing at the University of Rochester. … Marable has committed to attend and play soccer at Drexel University in Sept., 2024 … Briarcliff will play at Westlake, 8/31, in a Mount Pleasant Cup semifinal. The other semifinal is Valhalla vs. Pleasantville. The consolation and championship games are scheduled for 9/2. … Briarcliff plays archrival Pleasantville, 7 p.m., 10/6, at Pace University.

Carmel senior M Megan Wiener will present a tough two-way challenge for opposing foes in 2023.


Coach: Robyn Weindel (second year)

Top returning players: Megan Wiener, Sr., M; Kyra Bates, Sr., M/F; Kaiyla Gard, Jr., M.

Key newcomers: Zowa Morris, So., CB; Macey Rivard, Fr., M/F.

Top scoring threats: Brianna Pena, Wiener, Bates, Rivard.

Lockdown defender: Morris.

Coach’s season outlook/goals: After graduating 12 seniors last year, we look forward to seeing the new players step up and fill in those needed roles. With the new restructured classes, Carmel still remains in a very tough league and we will do our best and give it our all in each of our games. With every game, we hope to work harder and compete better than we did the game before while continuing to grow as both a team and a program.

Noteworthy: Carmel opens at Lakeland, 8/31. Carmel hosts archrival Mahopac, 9/20, then plays at Mahopac, 10/4. … 2022 graduate Kate Suazo plays soccer at St. Thomas Aquinas College in Orangeburg (N.Y.).


Coach: Mary O’Callaghan (first year)

2022 Record & Sectional Result: Section 1 Class C Champions.

League favorites: Haldane and North Salem.

Top returning players: Ruby Poses, Sr., G; Finola Kiter, Sr., F; Josie Foley-Hedlund, M.

Coach’s season outlook/goals: We have a great group of girls this year. Our goal is to defend our section title, but we’re taking it one day and one game at a time.

Noteworthy: O’Callaghan is assisted by Pete Ruggiero and Daria Sharon. … Haldane opens the season, Tuesday, 8/29, hosting Croton. … Haldane plays at North Salem, 9/28.

Hen Hud junior Liv Johnsen, a player on the rise in 2023, is hoping to take the 2022 quarterfinalist Sailors to the Class A Final 4 and beyond this fall.


Coach: Bill Pagel (ninth season)

2022 Record & Sectional Result: 12-5-2; Lost in a Class A Quarterfinal to eventual state champion, Albertus Magnus.

League & League Favorites: Conference II, League C: Hen Hud and Lakeland.

Section Favorite, Class A: Albertus Magnus.

Top returning players: Lexi Robinson., Sr., D (three-year starter, 2022: All-League); Jess Redmond, Sr., M/F; Liv Johnsen, Jr., M/F (three-year starter, 2022: All-League, All-Section; 25 goals, 21 assists); Kiely Morley, Jr., F (three-year starter, 2022: 8 goals); Oakley Gougelmann, Jr., M; Eleni Schattman, Jr., M; Samantha Gatto, Jr., M.

Key newcomers: Antonia Escobar-Cooper, So., G.

Top scoring threats: Johnsen, Morley.

Lockdown defenders: Robinson, Schattman, Gatto.

Coach’s season outlook/goals: Even though we  graduated 10 seniors last year, we have a strong core of players returning. Most of our juniors have been playing varsity since their freshman year. Now it’s their time to shine. It may take a little time to find our rhythm incorporating some of the newer players, but we should have a solid season. Our goal is to continually improve and build upon the day before.

Noteworthy: Hen Hud hosts Hastings in the first round of the Hen Hud Captain’s Cup Tournament and Putnam Valley vs. Haldane is the other first-round game, both 8/29. The consolation (4:30 p.m.) and championship (6:30 p.m.) games will be on 8/31. … Hen Hud plays Lakeland on 10/12 that could decide the league title. … 2023 Hen Hud graduate Lena Johnsen is playing at Fordham. She scored her first collegiate goal on 8/24.


Coach: Angela Russo (second year)

2022 Record & Sectional Result: 12-4; Lost to Mahopac in a Class A Quarterfinal.

League & League Favorite: Horace Greeley.

Section Favorite, Class A: Somers.

Top Returning Players: Meredith Feiner, Sr., F (three-year starter, 2022: All-Section, All-League, 22 goals, 10 assists); Rowan Edson, Jr., D (2022: All-League).

Key newcomers: Gianna Limongello, So., M; Alex Trombley, Fr., D.

Top scoring threats: Caroline Rose, Feiner; Limongello.

Lockdown defenders: Sienna Moss, Emily Hametz, Edson.

Coach’s season outlook/goals: We want to repeat as league champions and be a contender for the Class AA title.

Noteworthy: 2023 graduate Hannah Fetzer is playing at Skidmore. … The Quakers went 10-0 last year to win the league title. … Greeley opens with Mahopac (9/6) and North Rockland (9/8) at home.

Lakeland junior Kayleigh Mula
Lakeland junior Kayleigh Mula will be a dominant force on Hornet pitch in 2023.


Coach: Shawn Sullivan (sixth year)

2022 Record & Sectional Result: 10-7 (League Champions); Lost in a Class A out-bracket game, 1-0 to Eastchester.

League & League Favorite: League II-C, Lakeland and Hen Hud.

Section Favorite, Class A: Rye and Pearl River.

Top returning players: Kayleigh Mula, Jr., M (three-year starter, 2022: All-Section Honorable Mention, 8 goals, 9 assists); Kellie Sullivan, Sr., CB (2022: All-League, captain); Keira O’Grady, Sr., D (2022: All-League); Grace Hahn, Sr. CB; Grace Nugent, Sr., F; Sam Del Ponte, Soph., D; Caroline Leonard, So., M (2022: All-League).

Key newcomers: Victoria Caiazzo, Fr., F; Gianna Pace, Fr., M.

Top scoring threats: Victoria Marricco, Jr., F; Caroline Daly, So., F; Caiazzo, Nugent.

Lockdown defenders: Kellie Sullivan, Sam Del Ponte, Grace Hahn.

Coach’s season outlook/goals: We are very excited about the upcoming season. The girls have been working very hard in the off-season to get fit and start to jell as a team. Our goal is constant improvement through-out the season and to be playing our best soccer at the end of October.



Coach: Casey Carroll (fifth year)

2022 Record and Sectional Result: 12-6; Lost to Somers in a Class A Quarterfinal.

League and League Favorite: League I-C; Arlington.

Key returning players: Julianna Mangione, Sr., M; Gianna Fava, Sr., F; Adrianna Pranzo, Sr., D; Sarah Robinson, Sr., D; Camdyn Wilson, So., F.

Coach’s season outlook/goals: We are welcoming back 13 returning players to the roster this year. I’m excited for the start of this season and the new breakdown of classes. We will be playing in Conference I league A against some very tough competitors such as Arlington and JJEF, but competing in Class AA for sectional playoffs. I look forward to this season navigating these new breakdowns and making a competitive run in the playoffs!

Noteworthy: Mahopac opens the season hosting Yorktown, 8/31. … 2023 graduates Piper Klammer and Keyla Tenenpaguay are playing soccer at the College of Saint Rose and Pace University, respectively.


Coach: Anthony DiCuio (second year)

2022 Record and Sectional Result: 5-9-1. Lost to Horace Greeley in the first round.

League and League Favorite: Lakeland.

Section Favorite, Class A: Horace Greeley.

Top Returning Players: Mayra Perez, Sr., F (2022: 7 goals, 2 assists); Brianna Zhunio, Jr., CB; Nesli Macas So., D;

Natalie Foster, So., M; Valeria Otavalo, Fr., M (2022: 5 goals, 7 assists); Michelle Barreto, Fr., M (2022: 7 goals, 1 assist).

Key newcomers: Shantal Naulaguari, Fr., CB; Victoria Calderon, Fr., G.

Top scoring threats: Perez, Otavalo, Barreto.

Lockdown defenders: Nesli Macas, Zhunio.

Coach’s season outlook/goals: Our squad is young, carrying only two seniors (Mayra Perez and Stephanie Cabrera). We are a hard-working group that has shown the willingness to go the extra mile to improve ourselves each day. Our primary goal is to get better each day. When we look at where we start game 1 and where we end after game 16, we should see positive growth that develops through the experiences of the season. We strive to be role models within the community and a group that young girls can look up to. Qualifying for postseason play is something we strive for each year.

Noteworthy: 2023 graduate Evelyn Zumba is playing at Manhattanville this fall. … Peekskill will host a Latin American Showcase, 9/23, and play Alexander Hamilton.

Pleasantville Molly Baxter
Pleasantville’s Molly Baxter will lead by example for a budding Panther squad that expects to be a Final 4 club or bust.


Coach: Matt Schiff (third year)

2022 Record & Sectional result: 8-8.

League & League Favorite: Conference II: League C.  Lakeland.

Section Favorite: Class A: Pearl River, Rye.

Top Returning Players: Kaylie Mellars, Sr., CM (three-year starter, 2022 stats: 6 goals, 5 assists); Cassidy Pisani, Sr., M; (2022: 7 goals, 4 assists); Helen Bradfield, Sr., CB; Giuliana Rodriguez, Jr., CM; (2022: All-League; 6 goals, 7 assists).

Top scoring threats: Mellars, Pisani, Rodriguez.
Key newcomers: Emily Riggio, Fr., CB; Sofia Rivera, 8th-grade, CM.

Lockdown defenders: Bradfield, Riggio.

Coach’s season outlook/goals: I believe we will have a strong season. We are bringing back some experienced goalscorers that should take some pressure off of our defensive line which lost one of our starting defenders Kaylee Fleming to an ACL injury this summer. Our goal is to have a home sectional game and hopefully make some noise!

Noteworthy: We play Byram Hills early in the season. They beat us a few years ago in the first round of sectionals so this will be a good test for us.

 The following schools failed to report any information after numerous contacts: BREWSTER, BYRAM HILLS, FOX LANE, OSSINING, PLEASANTVILLE, VALHALLA, WESTLAKE, WHITE PLAINS

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