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Hen Hud’s Johnsen Sister in Synch; Yorktown Nips Somers, 2-1

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By Tony Pinciaro

Hen Hud’s Lena and Liv Johnsen are a big reason for the Sailors 8-1-1 start on the pitch.

HEN HUD opponents are learning that defending against sisters Lena and Liv Johnsen is twice the trouble.

Lakeland was the last team to experience the Johnsen sisters’ chemistry as Lena, a senior, scored twice, both assisted by Liv, a sophomore in a 2-0 victory.

Lena Johnsen has amassed 20 goals, ranking her among the top goalscorers in both Section 1 girls’ and boys’ soccer. Liv Johnsen now has 10 assists on the season.

The Johnsen sisters are one of the prime reasons Hen Hud is currently 8-1-1 and a contender for the Section 1 Class A title.

After playing together on the Cortland Super Stars youth travel soccer team, the sisters anxiously awaited the day they would be Hen Hud teammates. That came to fruition last year.

“It’s been so much fun and especially exciting this year,” Lena Johnsen said. “It’s been a little while since we last played together.”

Student-athletes will always cite the tremendous team bond that is formed by the players as the season progresses. The Johnsens have something even better – a sister bond. This is what makes it difficult to defend them because they know what the other is thinking.

“We know each other so well,” Lena Johnsen said. “Our movement, if we are going to make a move, cross the ball. It makes it so much easier to play with each other. We also have been training with each other for years so it gives us a huge advantage.”

The sisters take pride when they set up a teammate for a goal. However, it means more when they assist each other on a goal.

“It does make it slightly more special and it shows after either one of us scores off each other’s assist,” Lena Johnsen said.

Hen Hud coach Bill Pagel is awed, at times, at what the sisters do.

“They are both very skilled and athletic,” Pagel said. “They understand each other very well on the field and have an uncanny ability to find each other and set each other up to score. They have combined for some spectacular goals this season.”

Yorktown freshman F Olivia Del Gaudio scored biggest goal of her young career in Huskers’ 2-1 win over visiting Somers Saturday.

YORKTOWN reached double digits in wins after victories over Brewster, 3-1, and previously undefeated Somers, 2-1. The Cornhuskers are now 10-2-1 on the season.

Drita Tinaj scored twice and Kendall Kardon also had a goal against Brewster. Emily Ward collected two assists and Jules Vano had a helper.

Yorktown rallied from a 1-0 halftime deficit to hand Somers its first loss of the season.

“We made a few formation adjustments throughout the game and marked their midfielders super tightly,” said Vano of the Somers game. “We had to consistently adjust due to subs and injuries so we worked with what we had.”

Kaitlyn Judge, assisted by Liv Lucas, evened the score for Yorktown, then Olivia Del Gaudio had the game-winner with two minutes remaining in the game. Del Gaudio finished a crossing pass from Vano.

Ciara O’Brien was outstanding in goal with 20 saves.

“Ciara is the hardest-working player on this team,” Vano said. “She has been absolutely killing it. Her confidence and tactics have improved tremendously so fast. I’m so proud of her!”

MAHOPAC won a pair of 1-0 league games last week – over R.C. Ketcham and John Jay-East Fishkill.

Piper Klammer had the goal, assisted by Katie Watts, against Ketcham. Goalie Arianna Pennalla was excellent in goal with 14 saves.

“This was a much-needed league win for us and I was happy we were able to come out with a ‘W’,” Mahopac coach Casey Carroll said. “Center defender Katie Watts played a beautiful ball that Piper Klammer was able to find the back of the net with for the game-winner. Arianna Pennella had a solid performance in net.”

Gabrielle Ferrante provided Mahopac with the goal against previously undefeated John Jay-East Fishkill, assisted by Adrianna Pranzo. Jess Sterbens followed Pennalla with another strong showing in goal with 11 saves.

“This was a big team win for us, as well,” Carroll said. “We came out strong and scored early in the first half, and were able to hold on to the lead for the remainder of the game for the win. Jess Sterbens had a standout game in net to really help us clinch the win and give John Jay their first loss of the season.”

Greeley senior Sydney Mikesell and Fox Lane senior Valentina Valencia.

LAKELAND split two games, dropping a 2-0 verdict to Hen Hud then rebounded to beat intra-district rival Panas, 2-1.

Deanna Lage and Riley McConnell had Lakeland’s goals against Panas. The assists went to Kelli Sullivan and Kayleigh Mula.

Lily Merriam handled four shots. She made six saves against Hen Hud.

“I am very proud of the girls,” Lakeland coach Shawn Sullivan said. “This was a tough week of soccer versus our two biggest rivals. We got better this week. Our defense was fantastic in both games. The girls really moved the ball through the midfield to the attacking third and we created a bunch of good chances in each game. We are looking forward to the final two weeks of the season then sectionals.”

SOMERS kept its undefeated season intact with a 3-2 victory over John Jay-Cross River. However, Yorktown scored twice in the second half for a 2-1 victory.

The Tuskers are 9-1 this season.

Somers grabbed a 2-0 lead in the second half before John Jay answered with two goals to even the score. Julia Arbelaez provided the decisive goal, finishing off a Lindsay Gill pass.

Arbelaez had two assists, Gill added a goal as did Anne Maguire.

“It was a hard-fought game that was very evenly-matched,” Somers’ coach Kelci Hegg said. “We played slow in the first half and then adjusted our attack at halftime and got two goals early.

“Unfortunately, we lost senior captain Ava Giudice to injury and it threw us off in the midfield. We gave up two goals, but we showed great perseverance, determination, and composure in the final minutes. Julia came through with a big time finish to end the game.”

Giudice, assisted by Gill, provided Somers with a 1-0 lead going into halftime.

“Unfortunately, we did not get the result we wanted against Yorktown, but it was a good learning experience for us,” Hegg said. “It also relieves the pressure of being undefeated heading towards sectionals. We will look back on the game and assess how we can perform better as a team for the next game.”

Fox Lane freshman Elizabeth Fortune tries to elude Greeley senior Sydney Mikesell.

A young PUTNAM VALLEY team has been improving with each game and the Tigers were finally rewarded with their first win of the season – 2-0 over Pawling.

Eighth-grader Gianna Gottfried scored her first varsity goal, assisted by senior GiGi Cartategui. The senior captain then added the second goal.

“It’s been a rough first half of the season, but things are really clicking now,” Putnam Valley coach Nicole Ryan said. “We were very close against Haldane the week prior, were off to a lead that game, but lost a very exciting match, 3-2. We are excited to play them again at home this Friday for our senior night and get the win back.

“We have a pretty young team with two eighth-graders, but it is also a special group of girls, especially the five seniors. I coached the seniors when they were seventh-graders on modified in 2017, before I moved up to the varsity level the following year. It’s been a special thing to watch them grow as players and young adults all of these years.”

PEEKSKILL dropped a 5-1 verdict to Panas, but rebounded with a 4-0 blanking of Gorton.

Michelle Barreto scored against Panas with the assist to Valeria Otavalo. Anais Patino finished with eight saves.

Sophia Vesce scored Peekskill’s first two goals of the game, two minutes apart, against Gorton. Both were assisted by Otavalo. Barreto made it 3-0 one minute later, assisted by Evelyn Zumba, and Mayra Perez closed out the scoring three minutes later with Patino assisting.

Jennie Zhizhpon and later Zumba did not make a save.

PLEASANTVILLE only had one game but the Panthers made it a victorious homecoming with a 1-0 win over Rye Neck.

Faith Brown scored early in the first half and Cadence de Luca assisted as the Panthers improved to 6-3 this season.

“We were able to move the ball very well and use both sides of the field and we also did a nice job staying connected with each other,” Pleasantville coach Chris Osterhoudt said. “I think we are improving each day and we hope to find our stride at the end of the season. Playing well at the end of the year is so important for a team.”

PANAS began its week with a 5-1 win over Peekskill, but lost 2-1 to district rival Lakeland.

Giuliana Rodriguez led Panas with two goals and an assist. Cassidy Pisani and Kaylie Mellars each had a goal and an assist. Molly Muller had a goal and Sofia Disisto collected an assist. Kelly McAleese made seven saves.

Rodriguez had the Panas goal against Lakeland and McAleese had four saves.

CARMEL had a difficult week with losses to North Salem, R.C. Ketcham and Arlington.

“Although the outcome of our games this past week was not what we had hoped, it is important to note that a majority of our starters are underclassmen,” Carmel coach Robyn Weindel said. “The girls are continuing to gain valuable experience from these games as they learn how to play together at this level.”

WHITE PLAINS

It was a nil-nil game into the 70th minute on Thursday against Port Chester before Coach Ali Rainone unleashed White Plains defender Francesca De Lia up top, applying pressure to the resistance.

De Lia was the “key reason” for opening up the scoring by creating “movement and intensity.”

A game deadlocked at zero ended with a 3-0 White Plains win.

“That gave us the edge we needed to get the ball into the back of the net,” Rainone said.

White Plains returned to a winning record with Thursday’s “insane game” at Port Chester, lifting the team to five wins, four losses and one tie.

After the first goal, the Port Chester team basically “shut down,” Rainone observed in a phone interview.

“We dominated the whole entire game, we just couldn’t find the back of the net,” said Rainone, a former White Plains player herself who was an assistant for the past half dozen years of her White Plains coaching career before becoming head coach this season.  It’s a team of young players after graduating 12 seniors; mostly freshman and sophomores and even one eighth grader.

With the second half of the season now upon the team, and the schedule resetting to teams they played the first half, Rainone said it’s critical for White Plains to use what they learned in their first 10 games and apply those scouting lessons to the second half.

“You spend the first half of league play being a detective almost,” the coach said, noting it’s important to capitalize on any weaknesses the team has learned about their opponents, and also understand strengths on both sides.

On Tuesday (after press time), White Plains plays Saunders at home, and then confronts  Suffern on Thursday before a battle at Greeley on Friday.

FOX LANE

Fox Lane won 8-1 in a home matchup against Scarsdale B last Tuesday. The Foxes followed that up with a loss by that same score in reverse on Thursday, with a home defeat against Greeley, coming up on the wrong side of an 8-1 game. But the Foxes pounced two days later at home against Saunders, successfully hunting for a laugher win, kicking their way to a 10-1 rout.

“One of (the) captains, Jocelyn Wierzchowski, was out for a few weeks due to an injury but made her return at the Saunders game and scored within her first two minutes on the field,” said Assistant Coach Jessica Ruiz said. “I’m proud of the girls for working together to support each other on and off the field. They’ve worked hard to grow as individual players and as a team, I couldn’t be prouder.”

The head coach is out sick. After 10 games, including a charity event tournament loss, the team’s record is three wins, six losses, and one tie.

The Foxes played at Port Chester on Monday (after press time) and have a game on Friday at Ossining.

BYRAM HILLS

Byram Coach Julianne Marinaro conceded it was a “rough week” for her team.  With the holiday and rain, the team only played one game on Thursday. The squad played Sleepy Hollow and lost 5-2.

The team was down 5-0 and showed some grit, coming back and scoring a pair of goals within the last 10 minutes of the game.

“We are looking forward to learning from our mistakes and making some changes going forward,” Marinaro said.

Goals were scored by Amelia Dougherty and Lucy Brescio. Dougherty also contributed with an assist.

WESTLAKE

It was a tough week for Westlake last week, suffering a pair of losses in their two games, lowering their record to 1-6.
On Thursday, the team played Blind Brook, losing in a tight 2-1 fight. Luciana Shkreli scored on a penalty kick while Morgan Leitch notched a half dozen saves.
On Saturday the Wildcats played Valhalla, losing 2-0.
The first goal was scored early in the second half off a penalty kick. First year Westlake Coach Ashley Heis credited keeper Morgan Leitch with a “great game in goal.”
This week the team battled Pleasantville at the Panther field on Monday (after press time), then are slated for John Jay Cross River on Thursday, in a home game, with aother home game Friday versus Rye Neck before hitting the road Saturday for an evening match against Hastings.

Efforts to reach the HORACE GREELEY and VALHALLA programs were unsuccessful.

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