Newsday.com covers the beautiful game on Long Island with our high school girls soccer blog.
Suffolk League III Preview
Last Year: 8-4 (9-6), lost 1-0 to West Islip in quarterfinals
East Islip is the home of one of the top girl’s soccer talents in the nation. The Notre Dame-bound Cari Roccaro, who is a member of the U-17 women’s national team, was named Suffolk Class AA Player of the Year and an All-American last season and her presence makes the Redmen one of the favorites in Suffolk this season. Technically sound in every aspect of the game, Roccaro can serve as a defender, distributor or scorer when asked. As one of 12 seniors on the team, she is surrounded by an experienced and talented bunch that includes senior midfielder Jackie Niciforo, forwards Kaelin Bloom, Aly Conley and Shannon Cummings and senior defenders Brianne LaFemina and Rebecca Carucci. Senior keeper Christiana Votta moves into a starting role for a team filled with potential and promise.
Season Opener: Sept. 12 at Bayport-Blue Point
Last Year: 9-2-1 (11-4-1), beat West Islip on penalty kicks to win county championship
If Smithtown East proved one thing last season, it’s that a county champion isn’t determined on paper and can’t be predicted in the preseason. After ousting Commack and crosstown rival Smithtown West from the playoffs, Smithtown East upset No. 2 Connetquot in the semifinals then defeated defending county champs West Islip in a thrilling shootout to claim county supremacy.
“Everybody was just waiting for us to realize who we were and get out of the way,” said Smithtown East coach Bill Hamilton, who was named Newsday’s Coach of the Year. “The people that are coming back can’t be satisfied with last year. This has got to be just as important to them this year because last year is done. Do you want to be a one shot wonder or you want to go back and take another crack at it? These kids have to believe they are at that level.”
Last year’s success was predicated on a strong defense that recorded 12 shutouts and a balanced offensive attack in which no player scored more than six goals for the season. With 14 players lost to graduation, the defense will be revamped but anchored by Lyndsay Hartman and new starting keeper Carly Vittoria. The offense will feature more speed with the healthy return of senior forward Meg McEnroe, who missed nearly all of last season before returning in the Long Island championship game against Massapequa. She joins leading goal scorer Dominique Albano and Kelly Stumper as the Bulls look to defend their throne.
Season Opener: Sept. 8 vs. Mount Sinai
Last Year: 7-5 (9-5-1), lost 2-0 to Smithtown East in quarterfinals
The record may not reflect it, but Smithtown West was right there with some of the best teams the county had to offer last season. All five of their losses were by one goal and they went on to upset No. 3 Northport in the first round of the playoffs before falling to the eventual county champs. Nearly the entire team returns, with added depth across the field. Running the back line will be senior defenders Kaitlyn LaManna and Olivia Wellenger. Senior forward Nicolette Scrozzo and sophomore forward Gabby Scirica, who managed to find the back of the net a few times as a freshman, will look to fill the scoring void left by all-state Erin Froehlich. Side Note: The first Smithtown Battle between West and East will take place on Sept. 21.
Season Opener: Sept. 8 at Elwood/John Glenn
Last Year: 6-4-2 (8-5-2), lost 2-0 to North Babylon in quarterfinals
The core of the team that staged one of the biggest upsets in Suffolk soccer history last season returns with newfound confidence. 12 seniors return from last year’s squad, which as the 16th seed, shocked top-seeded Sachem East in the first round of the playoffs. Whitman is strongest out of the back where senior central defender Kelly Powers and sophomore keeper Samantha Myers-Dineen will anchor the defense. Senior midfielder Alyssa Vallar leads the offense for a team that enters the season with the mindset that, after the Sachem East upset, they can compete with any team this season.
Season Opener: Sept. 7 vs. Harborfields
Last Year: 3-7-2 (5-8-2)
The Cougars are hoping an improved defense and a new sense of team chemistry will help get them closer to the playoffs. The defense was young last year but should be improved behind junior goalkeeper Lauren Young. With nine lost to graduation, there will be some fresh faces on offense joining forces with senior center-mid Alex Adam and junior forward Amber Pindulic, who recovered from an ACL injury to lead the team in scoring during the summer league.
Season Opener: Sept. 8 vs. Stony Brook
HALF HOLLOW HILLS EAST: 2-9-1 (3-11-2)…Season Opener: Sept. 10 at Northport
NEWFIELD: 1-10-1 (1-13-1)…Season Opener: Sept. 7 vs. Longwood
**COMING THIS WEEKEND: LEAGUE IV AND V PREVIEWS**
Tags: East Islip , Smithtown East , Smithtown West , Whitman , Centereach , Half Hollow Hills East , Newfield , Cari Roccaro , Jackie Niciforo , Kaelin Bloom , Aly Conley , Shannon Cummings , Brianne LaFemina , Rebecca Carucci , Christiana Votta , Lyndsay Hartman , Carly Vittoria , Meg McEnroe , Dominique Albano , Kelly Stumper , Kaitlyn LaManna , Olivia Wellenger , Nicolette Scrozzo , Gabby Scirica , Kelly Powers , Samantha Myers-Dineen , Alyssa Vallar , Lauren Young , Alex Adam , Amber Pindulic