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Gianna Maccarino, unlikely goalie, helps keep St. Dom soaring

St. Dominic girls soccer is off to an unheard of 4-0 start, but maybe even more unlikely is who is in goal.

Gianna Maccarino moved from center back on a strong back line to the net to cover for three keepers who are out with injuries. She switched positions after a teammate's injury during the first game, and she's averaging nine saves-per-game with only two goals in four games for the Bayhawks.

"I did it because I love my team and I wanted to help out," the senior said.

Playing in net isn't exactly a new experience for Maccarino, who is heading to LIU Post to continue her playing career as a defensive player next year. She made the all-league team as a freshman keeper before deciding she wanted to run the open field.

"The main reason is because it's very hard on me personally," Maccarino said, referring to playing keeper. "I take things to heart, every goal scored, but also I love playing on the field."

But that course reversed when a mountain of injuries hit St. Dominic, which has already equaled its win total from last season.

"It was a question of putting her in the goal and losing her on the field or keeping a strong goalie," said coach Sal Albanese.

Albanese made the choice on short notice after one goalkeeper after another went on the disabled list.

Samantha Wadderburn suffered a broken arm before the season, keeping her out four to six weeks. Natalia Carmenate is recovering from an illness. And Sabrina Mesavich suffered a broken thumb while making a diving save in the Bayhawks' first game..

"It was very nerve-wracking at first, and I was a little overwhelmed," Maccarino said.

That nervousness wasn't reciprocated by her teammates. Center back Grace Curran said she didn't have any concern about a quick switch because of Maccarino's past success and the team's defense.

The back line has been a particular strength even without Maccarino in the midst of it. It's comprised of Curran and Amy Armata in the middle, and Emma Igoe and Alexa Cali on the outside.

"My defense is unbeatable," Albanese said.

The offense isn't to be overlooked either, with Marissa Pizzuto scoring six of the team's 19 goals along with her five assists.

Albanese's short-term plan keeps Maccarino in goal, partly because he doesn't want to hurt momentum. Wadderburn and Mesavich have about four more weeks until their casts are removed. They could get back on the field during the playoffs.

"I'll have to decide later," he said.

Maccarino will play wherever she is needed, Albanese said. And for now, that's between the posts on a rejuvenated team.

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