High School Softball

Newsday's high school writers keep you updated on the big games and stories in high school softball.

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Mike Gavin

Mike Gavin joined Newsday in November of 2007 and spent nearly two years doing box scores while patiently awaiting his big break. That came when he was assigned to do the highly-popular Ducks Watch, a weekly interview with a member of the Long Island Ducks. The high school sports staff then took him in as one of their own and he has since covered girls soccer, boys basketball and other miscellaneous sports.

Mike graduated from Stony Brook University with a major in business management and a minor in journalism. He is known around the office as the “Wild Card,” but prefers that you don’t ask how the nickname originated.

Kayla Arestivo, Mackenzie Kober come up big (and bigger) for St. Anthony's

Kayla Arestivo came up big. And that's fitting, because she makes up half of a tandem nicknamed "Big and Bigger."

Arestivo, playfully called "Big" because she stands 5-2, scored two early goals Thursday that propelled St. Anthony's to a 5-0 girls soccer win over Kellenberg in CHSAA.

Mackenzie Kober, who added a goal and an assist, is a few inches taller than Arestivo, which is obviously why she goes by "Bigger."

"We played forward together when we were younger and we were so aggressive," Kober said. "So our parents started calling us 'Big and Bigger.' "

Of late, the Friars' margins of victory have been big and bigger. Over the last five games, St. Anthony's has combined a balanced offense with a stingy defense to outscore opponents 25-0.

It took Arestivo just 40 seconds to find the back of the net Thursday, sending a left-footed one-timer into the corner of the goal to give the Friars a 1-0 lead. Midway through the half, a perfect 40-yard free kick from Kaitlin Loughren was deflected to Arestivo, who fired it in for a 2-0 edge.

"There's no hierarchy on the team," Arestivo said. "Everyone is equal and we all respect one another. We're all compatible."

Kober sent a cross to Sabrina Cristodero, who fired into the upper right corner to make it 3-0 in the 37th minute. Niccola Venezia later split two defenders and played the ball to Kober, who knocked it in midway through the second half. Loughren capped the scoring for the Friars (7-0) with a liner from just beyond the box two minutes later. "This team has become so strong because we all play as a unit," Kober said, "and we know that's the only way we will achieve what we want."

What they want is to reclaim the state championship after their bid for a third straight was denied last season. "That's our goal," Arestivo said. "We are excited because we think it's in our reach."

They're thinking big . . . and bigger.

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Dana Scheriff's two goals lead North Babylon to League III victory

There's a new sheriff in town. Her name is Dana Scheriff.

The North Babylon forward has been laying down the law on offense. With two more goals in a 6-1 girls soccer win over Copiague Wednesday, she increased her season total to 13, which leads Suffolk.

"This year I gained a lot of confidence in my game that I didn't have last year," she said. "I go on the field hoping not to walk off with any regrets."

Not many regrets this year, just a whole lot of goals.

Scheriff, who is adept with both feet and makes quality runs off the ball to put herself in scoring position, has scored in seven of eight games while leading North Babylon (5-1) to the top of League III.

Wednesday, she received a through ball, eluded the goalkeeper and tapped the ball into the net to give North Babylon a 3-0 lead midway through the first half. It was her fifth multigoal game of the season and brought her closer to tripling her total of five goals from last season.

Scheriff's breakout season on the offensive end has been aided by the emergence of sophomore Julia Katsock. Call her the deputy of the midfield.

"Julia has a good eye," Scheriff said. "She knows the speed and ability of the player so where to play the ball."

Katsock, a distributor with speed, has filled the playmaking role that Scheriff played in her first two seasons on varsity.

"I try and distribute evenly and get it to my players," Katsock said. "I know that no matter who I get it to they are all confident with the ball."

That includes forwards Allison Kennedy and Amanda Wroblewski, who have already helped the Bulldogs surpass the 28 goals they scored last season.

Kennedy had a goal and an assist Wednesday. Dominique Melito opened the scoring 1:57 in.

Copiague goalkeeper Maraya Jones played better than the score indicates, often coming off her line to challenge. She made 19 saves, including multiple diving stops. Nicolette Vasseur knocked in a goal for Copiague with 4:51 remaining.

But the Bulldogs' starting defense -- led by captain Angela DiFazio, a goalkeeper who closes down angles well, and her lieutenants in the backfield: Allyson Eifert, Diana Orsini and Alexis Rutha -- had held the Eagles scoreless before taking a seat on the bench.

"We're good at moving the ball around the field," Rutha said. With Scheriff up top, it "takes a lot of pressure off the defense because we know there is someone who can finish it. It's our job to defend our goal and get the ball to her."

In other words, serve and protect.

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