Loizou sisters make LuHi soccer title a family affair
The branches of the Loizou family tree stretched across the field.
From the goal, where little sister Christina Loizou scored. To the midfield, where big sister Katerina Loizou distributed. To the sideline, where their father, Damianos Loizou, coached.
As a result, the mantel at the Loizou house just got a little crowded. Each family member got a shiny new trophy after helping to lift Long Island Lutheran to a 4-0 win over Staten Island Academy in the PSAA championship game at Portledge.
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Christina opened the scoring in the ninth minute with the first of her two goals. Defender Jen Giambrone played a ball downfield to Kennedy Kerr, who managed to chip it over a challenging keeper to the front of the net, where Christina finished.
She added another goal with just under five minutes left in the half after breaking free inside the box and firing inside the far post for a 2-0 lead.
"I love the feeling of victory," Christina said. "I can't describe it. Your adrenaline is going and you can't control how happy you are."
Christina is an eighth-grade forward in her second year on the team. Katerina is a senior midfielder in her fifth year on the team. Damianos is in his first year as coach at the varsity level but has been the longtime coach of a travel premier team.
Allow Katerina to explain what this "All in the Family" type of season has been like . . .
"My sister and I have really good chemistry on the field because we play very complementary positions. I get angry with her -- I'm allowed to because she's my sister -- but it's the same as anything else; I want to help the forward score."
Added Christina: "I think we're a good dynamic duo."
What's it been like with Dad on the sideline?
"I don't think of him as my dad when he's coaching," Katerina said. "Everything he says, he's my coach. My dad I leave at home."
Kennedy Kerr, a sophomore forward who leads Long Island with 24 goals, showed off her footwork by splitting two defenders in the box and firing into the back of the net for a 3-0 lead in the 52nd minute. She then showed off her speed by beating a defender down the left wing and scoring with 15 minutes remaining.
"Just hard work, determination, all that good stuff," she said of her dominant season, which helped LuHi capture its first league title since 2005. "It feels great and it makes me look forward to the years to come."
For Katerina and the other seniors on the team -- Giambrone, Emma Grace Regan, Lauren Posillico and the Sinacori sisters, Danielle and Nicole -- the win helped avenge five straight losses to Staten Island Academy in the championship game. The most heartbreaking came just last season when LuHi relinquished a 3-0 second-half lead and went on to lose, 4-3, in overtime.
"It was really important because I remember from freshman year we always wanted to win this," Posillico said. "We worked so hard, and to finally win the championship feels great."
Katerina, who was named MVP of the playoffs, was asked how it feels to know that the Loizou family had such an impact on bringing a league title back to LuHi. But she said the branches on her family tree don't stop with her sister and father.
"This team is my family," she said. "So it just felt like a bigger family. We're all sisters on this team. To win this together after so many years is just amazing."