By Tony Pinciaro
SOMERS opened the 2021 varsity girls soccer season against the same opponent it closed out the 2020 schedule — Mahopac.
Unlike last year where the teams played to a 0-0 draw and shared the Northern Westchester/Putnam Large-School title, Somers made an emphatic statement. Somers found the back of the net, often, in a 4-0 victory, highlighted by two goals from freshman Julia Arbalaez.
Senior Martina Adornetto opened the scoring, followed by the Arbalaez pair and fellow freshman Adrianna Cook added the fourth goal.
“Offensively, we were able to establish a good rhythm and be more clinical in our finishing compared to our pre-season games,” Somers senior Lily Mandel-Mueller said. “Defensively, we achieved a shutout, which is a great precedent for our upcoming games.”
Mandel-Mueller is back for her second varsity season. The talented senior explained that she has been playing for the New York Soccer Girls Academy for the last five years, but it did not permit players to participate in high school soccer until last year when she said it lifted the restrictions.
“I’ve been very happy to have the opportunity to play Somers’ varsity soccer since junior year,” Mandel-Mueller said.
Following a successful 2020 fall season, in which the fall state championships were canceled because of the pandemic, Mandel-Mueller and her teammates are looking forward to a sense of normalcy returning.
“We are very appreciative to have a more normal season this year, and it is great to have established a good expectation for the rest of our season with a win,” Mandel-Mueller said.
While the student-athletes welcome the return of the fall state championships, they are pleased to be playing mask-free this season.
“We are excited to pick up where we left off last season with the addition of new players,” Mandel-Mueller said. “It is a relief to not have to wear a mask while playing. It was more difficult to play with a mask on last year, but our team was able to adapt to the difference.”
Mandel-Mueller is one of Somers’ returning impact players. She is joined by classmates Tori Righetti (midfielder) and Alicia Hawkins (center back), juniors Ava Giudice (midfielder) and Tori Olsen (outside back) and sophomore Annie Maguire.
Somers received a glimpse of what this season might hold with Arbalaez and Cook combining for three goals.
“I think Julia and Adrianna are great additions to the team,” Mandel-Mueller said. “They have a lot of enthusiasm and a desire to score that will help us throughout the season.”
Mandel-Mueller said the team was prepared for the season, thanks to Somers’ Coach Kelci Hegg.
“Coach Kelci is great at team building, and during our preseason, we were able to establish our tone for the new season,” Mandel-Mueller said. “It is great to be back as a team, and we are looking forward to working hard for every win.”
YORKTOWN is off to a 2-0-1 start thanks, in part, to putting in the extra effort in extra time.
After the Cornhuskers opened the season with a 6-0 victory over Panas, their next two games went into overtime.
Yorktown’s Emily Ward scored with 24 seconds remaining in the second 10-minute overtime session to earn a 2-2 draw with Harrison. Juliana Vano followed with a goal 2:30 into the first overtime, sending Yorktown to a 2-1 victory over Pelham.
“Emily Ward received a short ball on a corner, prepared herself and had an incredible shot netting the goal with 24 seconds left,” Yorktown Coach Richard Armstrong said. “She is very composed and is a true competitor, especially when it comes to crunch time. I was very proud of the way that we took over the overtime and pressured them until the last second ran off the clock. I think our girls battled and their endurance showed in the final minutes of OT.”
Armstrong pointed out his team carried over that hard work and determination against Peham.
“From the opening whistle our girls played extremely hard,” Armstrong said. “We had a few opportunities that we probably should’ve scored in overtime, but again resilience and ability to step up shows a lot about the character of our entire squad this year. For Jules Vano to get the game-winner speaks volumes about her competitiveness and passion for the game.”
Vano had two goals and an assist against Panas. Drita Tunaj added one goal and one assist. The other goalscorers included Kristin Linehan, Katie Tomeny, Iva Chee and Ward. Olivia Lucas and Lucia Carucci registered assists.
Vano gave Yorktown a 1-0 over Harrison, converting a penalty kick. Goalie Erika Krasniqi handled 12 shots.
Yorktown’s Katie Tomeny scored the first goal. Yorktown grabbed a 1-0 lead on Pelham with Tomeny scoring, assisted by Vano. Krasniqi made seven saves.
MAHOPAC, the 2020 Northern Westchester/Putnam fall co-champions with Somers, split two games to open 2021.
Mahopac used a Maddy DeCola goal to overcome Pelham, 1-0, in its season-opener as goalie Maddy McCrosson made four saves.
“It was great being back out on the field with no restrictions for our season-opener,” Mahopac Coach Casey Carroll said.
“Overall, a good performance for our girls with the first shutout of the year for our defense.”
In their first meeting since closing out the 2020 fall season in the Northern Westchester/Putnam Large-School title game, Mahopac dropped a 4-0 verdict to Somers.
“We started off the game strong, but let up the first goal off of a communication mistake that we had a hard time recovering from,” Carroll said. “Our team is still working out the kinks. We were able to use this game to move some players around, having some girls try out different positions and formations to see what works best for the rest of the season.”
Despite an 0-2 start for PANAS — a 2-0 loss to Nanuet and 3-2 setback to Brewster, coach Matt Schiff was upbeat.
“I thought we played well, especially early in the second half, but Brewster kept playing tough and gave a ton of effort,” Schiff said. “I give them a lot of credit. They never gave up.”
Molly Muller and Kaylie Mellars, assisted by Giuliana Rodriguez, had Panas up 2-0 in the second half, before Brewster rallied with three goals in the final 10 minutes.
Girls’ soccer coaches are encouraged to send results, stats and comments to TFinch23@optonline.net