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2022 Girls Soccer Preview: Lakeland, Somers, Yorktown All Legit Class A Contenders

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By Tony Pinciaro
Yorktown’s Kaitlyn Judge (R) and Lakeland’s Deanna Lage (L) are primed to battle for league titles and Class A sectional supremacy this fall, along with Somers, who expects to deliver another knockout campaign behind All-Section senior Ava Giudice.

The 2021 Lakeland varsity girls’ soccer team had one of the finest seasons in program history as it won the league title, qualified for sectionals and finished with a 12-5 record. Lakeland was led by a nine-member senior class that set the example for its underclassmen teammates. However, as is the case every June, the seniors graduate.

Seniors and co-captains Deanne Lage and Laura MacDonald learned from their recently-graduated teammates and are primed to build on the success of the 2021 season. The duo made sure the preparation began in the offseason.

“Last year’s graduating class definitely had a work ethic like I had never seen before,” said Lage, in her third varsity season. “Each and every one of the seniors put 100% effort into each season they played for Lakeland and I think this positively rubbed off on the rest of the younger girls. They all woke up early for captains’ practices in the summer and constantly had a positive attitude throughout the season. Looking back on last season, all the new coming and returning girls are reminded that if the work is put in, then the outcomes will show it.

Talented Lakeland sophomore Kayleigh Mula will take on a much larger role in 2022.

“The offseason is just as important as the preseason. Preseason is what prepares each player for the games and practices that are soon to come, but without a strong offseason the preseason won’t do much for a strong team. Teams that don’t stay active throughout the other seasons will for sure be lacking, not only ball skills, but also the fitness aspect of soccer. Thankfully, Lakeland does offer a winter and summer league to keep the girls active, and throughout this summer Laura and I have attempted to hold a minimum of two captains practices a week, just to get the team together and rolling again. It also gave the newcomers an idea of what goes on on a varsity level team.”

Lage and MacDonald, along with fellow 2021 all-league choice Kayleigh Mula, return to control the midfield. Along with the outstanding trio of Lage, MacDonald and Mula, Lakeland fifth-year Coach Shawn Sullivan said he has a strong defense, highlighted by keeper Lily Merriam. Merriam has a solid group in front of her consisting of returnees Samantha Moscati, Magda Argos, Kellie Sullivan, Keira O’Grady, Isabella Benedetto and Sofia Muccitelli.

The forward unit consists of Riley McConnell, Ellen Ndreka, Grace Hahn, Grace Nugent, all experienced veterans. Sullivan is fortunate to have a deep, returning nucleus, highlighted by Lage and MacDonald, both three-year varsity starters.

Like she did her junior season, Yorktown senior Julianna Vano will provide the pop in the Huskers’ offense in 2022.

“Deanne and Laura have been with us the longest and understand the high expectations we have set on and off the field to be a successful team,” Sullivan said. “Both have the respect of the players and coaching staff and have already done a great job leading by example and supporting the players, so everyone can improve and allow us to have a successful season.

“Deanne and Laura will control the game from the center midfield, providing the team with two very technical players in the middle of the field, setting up their teammates for scoring opportunities. They will also need to provide solid defense to shut down the other team’s best players.”

Lage, MacDonald and their teammates understand teams might underestimate Lakeland because of its graduation losses. However, this will motivate Lakeland to show just how good it will be based on the returning core and talented newcomers.

“Last season, we definitely lost a lot of strong players and with that being said, this doesn’t make us any less excited for this season,” Lage said. “I know that each girl has played with a ball at her feet in between last year and this year and I am super psyched to see how much girls have not only improved, but how much we have all grown as soccer players. All the new girls coming to play at the varsity level are probably just as excited as the returners, and I can assure them that they will fit right in and have just as close a bond with each and everyone of their teammates.

“We definitely have a lot to prove this year, but I am confident that, as a team, we can step up and prove ourselves to be the strong and successful team that we are.”

Lakeland opens the season at Putnam Valley, Sept. 3rd. The Hornets’ schedule also includes fellow Class A powers Somers, Rye, Pearl River and Hen Hud, plus Class B Byram Hills.

CARMEL RAMS

Coach: Robyn Weindel (first year)

2021 Record & Sectional Result: Record was 7-8-1. Lost in first round to Scarsdale)

League & League Favorite: League I-AA. Arlington and John Jay-East Fishkill

Top returning players: Maeve McGlynn, Sr., F (All-Section HM, All-League; Hailey Ricker, Sr., G/F (Senior, All-League); Kate Suazo, Sr., CM (All-League HM); Teagan Weindel, Sr., D; Megan Wiener, Jr., MF; Kaiyla Gard, So., MF.

Top Scoring Threats: Maeve McGlynn.

Lockdown defenders: Teagan Weindel, Hailey Ricker.

Goals: I am hoping to continue to grow the girls’ soccer program and be competitive within a very tough league/section.

Coach’s comments: Although it’s my first year as varsity coach, I am familiar with several of the girls as they have played for me on my Carmel travel team. In addition, I’ve also been able to follow many others on their respective Carmel travel teams. We have a very solid group this year and I anticipate great things from them, both on and off the field.

HENDRICK HUDSON SAILORS

Coach: Bill Pagel (8th Season, Assistant Nicole Dinardo)

2021 Record & Sectional Result: 8-7-2. Lost in an out-bracket game to Tappan Zee on penalty kicks.

League & League Favorite: League II-D. Lakeland and Hen Hud.

Top returning players: Lean Johnsen, Sr., MF (All-Section, 18 goals, 7 assists); Lexi Schaffer, Sr., G (Honorable Mention All-Section, 7 shutouts, 140 saves); Fiona Doyle, Sr., MF (All-League); Morgan Parks, Sr., MF (All-League); Kat Couch, Sr., D (All-League. 4-year varsity player, 2nd year as captain); Kayla Cohen, Sr., D; Liv Johnsen, So., MF (All-League, 7 goals, 7 assists).

Top Scoring Threats: Lena and Liv Johnsen. Last year, combined for 25 goals.

Lockdown Defenders: Kat Couch, Fiona Doyle, Lexi Robinson and Kayla Cohen.

Goals: To consistently play well each game.

Outlook: “With a large group of returning players we expect to have a positive season.”

Noteworthy: Hendrick Hudson Tournament, 8/31. Opening round: Hen Hud vs. Put Valley and Croton vs. Haldane. Friday, 9/2, will be the championship and consolation games. … Hen Hud plays Lakeland in the last game of the regular season, 10/14, which could decide the league title.

PANAS PANTHERS

Coach: Matt Schiff (second year, assistant Kyle Pierce)

2021 Record & Sectional Result: 6-8-2. (Missed sectionals)

League & league favorite: II-D, Lakeland

Section favorite: Albertus Magnus

Top returnees: Kaylie Mellars, Jr., F (13 goals, two assists, all-league); Sarah Chiuli, Sr., D; Giulana Rodriguez, So., CB.

Top scoring threats: Kaylie Mellars, Giuliana Rodriguez.

Lockdown defender: Sarah Chiuli.

Goals: Improve our record from last year and make sectionals.

Coach’s comments: “We have a great group of girls who work hard and love the game. I’m really looking forward to coaching this group.”

Outlook: “If we can put it all together we could be a real tough team. We have a solid back line, anchored by Sarah Chiuli, and two real scoring threats in Kaylie Mellars and Giuliana Rodriguez. If we sure-up our goalie spot we can be a tough out come sectionals.”

SOMERS TUSKERS

Coach: Kelci Hegg (third year)

2021 Record and Sectional Result: 12-5. Lost in quarterfinal round to Pearl River in four OT.

League: Yorktown, John Jay-Cross River, Brewster, Somers.

League favorite: Yorktown and Somers.

Section favorite: Albertus Magnus, Pearl River, Clarkstown North (2021 Section 1 Class A champion) and Somers.

Top returnees: Ava Giudice, Sr., (All-Section, All-League, Conference Player of the Year); Tori Olsen, Sr., D (All-League); Anne Maguire, Jr., (All-Section, All-League); Jordan McMorrow, Jr., D (All-League Honorable Mention); Julia Arbalaez, So., MF (‘21 leading scorer, All-League Honorable Mention); Tiana Righetti, So., MF (All-League).

Coach’s comments: I am extremely excited about this upcoming season as we have a tremendous amount of young players with loads of talent entering our program this year that will make us competitive for years to come. Our goal is always to be better than the day before so at the end of the season, we will be playing for a state championship. We look forward to playing some of the tough competition that beat us last year, including Rye and Pearl River.

YORKTOWN CORNHUSKERS

Coach: Rich Armstrong (20th year)

2021 Record & Sectional Result: 9-5-1, ost to Horace Greeley, second round, penalty kicks.

League: Somers, Yorkown, John Jay-Cross River, Brewster.

League favorite: Somers and Yorktown.

Top returning players: Emily Ward, Sr., MF (All-Section); Jules Vano, Sr., F (All-Section); Liv Lucas, Sr., D; Rachel Gevanthor, Sr., D (All-League).

Top scoring threats: Jules Vano, Emily Ward, Peyton Case.

Lockdown defenders: Rachel Gevanthor, Liv Lucas.

Goals: If healthy, we feel we can compete at a very high level. We have good experience and passion for the game returning.

Coach’s comments: These girls show up every day wanting to improve and push each other to be better. They make it very easy to coach and look forward to what this season could possibly bring. We must improve each time we train, each game we play and gel every time the girls are together.

Outlook: We will take it one game at a time.

HORACE GREELEY

COACH: Angela Russo, Assistant coach: Regina McKie

2021 Record & Playoff Result:  we were 11-5 last season and lost to Rye in the quarterfinals after beating Yorktown in a penalty shootout in the first round.

League & League Favorite: I think Greeley should be one of the top in our league this season. Our league consists of Greeley, Ossining, Port Chester, Saunders and White Plains

Section Favorite: I also believe that we will be one of the top teams in class A this season.

Top Returning Players: We have 2 All-Section players returning, Ramsey Edson (senior forward) and Fiona Brown (senior defense), and All-Section Honorable Mention player, Meredith Feiner (Junior mid/forward). We also have other very strong returning players: Hannah Fetzer (senior) Sydney Mikesell (senior), and Erica Rosendorf (senior), Rowan Edson (sophomore), Rachel Glick (sophomore)

Key Newcomers:  Haven’t had tryouts yet

Top Scoring Threats: Ramsey Edson, Meredith Feiner, Rachel Glick

Top Defenders: Fiona Brown, Erica Rosendorf, Rowan Edson

Goals: Win the league and Class A section title.

Coach’s Comments: We have a large number of returning players with a lot of talent and strong team chemistry. I’m looking forward to a really great season from this squad.

 

CLASS B

BRIARCLIFF

Coach: David E. Villalobos

2021 Record & Playoff Result: 15-1-2, #2 seed, Class B Section finalists (Lost against Bronxville 4-0)

League & League Favorite: Conference 3 League A; Briarcliff are the league favorites

Section Favorite: Irvington, Byram Hills, Bronxville & Briarcliff

Top Returning Players: Dylan Zednik, Gabriella Chioccola, Sora Marable, Nico Vargish, Ava Makaron

Key Newcomers: Gemma Fante, Mar Rivera Font & Gabriella Auguste

Top Scoring Threats: Sora Marable, Nico Vargish

Top Defenders: Gabriella Chioccola

Goals: Win the league, win the Mount Pleasant Cup, qualify for the playoffs as a high seed and win the section title.

Coach’s Comments: We lost 10 seniors that included my top goal scorer. We may play a different formation this season and the returners and newcomers will have to fill the void left by the seniors.

VALHALLA

Coach: Matt Pringle

2021 Record & Playoff Result: 4-9-2, Lost first round of playoffs to Hastings

League & League Favorite: I will always say Valhalla

Top Returning Players: Sophia Casale, Center Back, Senior; Isabella Mattoni, Midfield, Sophomore; Violet Mattoni, Midfield, Sophomore.

Key Newcomers: Juliette Sullivan, Forward, Senior

Top Scoring Threats: Juliette Sullivan

Top Defenders: Sophia Casale

Goals: Challenging ourselves individually and collectively to achieve the next level in our development.

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