Dedication and hard work paid off for the Deer Park girls soccer team Friday as the Falcons won their first league championship since 2010.
“The entire season the girls have worked really hard for it so I wasn’t necessarily surprised,” said Olivia Grizzle, a senior captain and four-year player. “It was something we knew we could do.”
Deer Park defeated Kings Park, 4-0, to clinch the Suffolk IV regular season championship. Grizzle, the starting sweeper who hadn’t had a goal all season, scored twice off direct kicks.
“It was pretty exciting,” Grizzle said. “They were pretty nice shots so I was pretty happy.”
Grizzle’s first goal came from 35 yards out on a ball served far post that glided off a defender into the net to give the Falcons a 1-0 lead. Her second goal came from 23 yards out to take a 4-0 lead with 25 minutes remaining in the match.
But all season it’s been her defense that’s helped Deer Park to an 12-0-1 record, including 11-0-1 in Suffolk IV.
“There’s nothing that she cannot do,” said coach Ian Kyranakis. “She’s also a huge reason why we only allow two or three shots on frame a game, if that. She’s an outstanding sweeper, outstanding defender.”
Deer Park scored its second goal of the game when Taylor Maucere found Kristen DeBiase in the box in the 27th minute. The Falcons added their final goal of the half in the 38th minute when Kasey Dorney took a ball deep to the back line, served it to the 6-yard box, which Karla Pelaez one-timed into the net to take a 3-0 lead over Kings Park (7-4-1).
Jenna Schultz had three saves in Deer Park’s eighth shutout win of the season. Schultz’s play in net along with the strength of the back line has been a major key to the Falcons’ undefeated season.
“All of the girls will say it, our defense is probably the strongest part of our team,” Grizzle said. “I feel we take a lot of pride in our defense.”
But even with an undefeated season in their grasps and a potential deep playoff run, the Falcons are doing their best to stay focused on the moment.
“We like to take it one game again but we just want to continue. We want to be undefeated,” Grizzle said. “We’re all focused on the playoffs but we want to take it one game at a time.”