Although none of the victories from last year’s state championship season carry over for the Massapequa girls soccer team, all the memories remain at the forefront for its returning players. It’s a reminder to the veteran players what they are striving for, and a motivator for the younger players to try and experience it for themselves.
“We all say that winning that [state championship] game was the best time of our lives,” senior defender McKayla Schneidler said. “We still talk about it today, even with the seniors from last year and even talking about it to the new girls. It makes them want to get there and we all push each other.”
Despite graduating a strong core after winning the state Class AA championship last fall, this year’s team is off to a strong start in defending that title. Massapequa defeated host Oceanside, 2-0, in a Nassau Conference AA-I girls soccer match Monday.
“Obviously there’s a little pressure,” forward/midfielder Briana Neary said, “but we do think we are still capable of winning all these games and being great.”
Massapequa improved to 4-0 and Oceanside fell to 1-3.
Holly Krieg scored the first goal, finishing a pass from Olivia Trojanowski from 10 yards out with 18:50 left in the first half. Trojanowski scored the second goal from 15 yards out after a nice pass from Neary with 31:28 left in the second half.
Trojanowski, a freshman, has taken on an early scoring role for Massapequa, even though its only her first season on varsity.
“It’s a great experience being able to play with them,” said Trojanowski, who tallied her fifth goal Monday. “It’s really nice because they were all so welcoming and able to trust me right away and to play right away is nice.”
Monday’s game featured a 30-minute lightning delay near the midway point of the second half. Massapequa led 2-0 with 26:59 left in the second half before the resumption of play.
Massapequa won its first state title since 2015 and eighth overall last season, after winning its 16th county title in the last 19 years. Every Massapequa team wants to cement its own legacy within the elite program, and this year is no expectation.
“It adds motivation because a lot of us know that feeling of winning a state championship,” Schneidler said. “And obviously it was a great feeling, so we all want to get back there again.”
“There’s a culture of winning and they feel that little bit of pressure that they want to be successful,” coach Bruce Stegner said. “It’s definitely motivation, too.”
The Massapequa defense, including Schneidler, Shae Brennan, Lena Fleischer and Dominique DiOrio had a strong game to limit Oceanside’s scoring chances. Reese Reustle, a freshman goalkeeper called up from junior varsity, had four saves in her varsity debut. She received the promotion because Massapequa’s starting goalkeeper was out with an illness.
Massapequa is 5-0-2 overall and has yet to allow multiple goals in a game this season. Although the end goal is a state championship, the players and coaches don’t want to get too far ahead of themselves.
“They know at the end of the journey what they are shooting for,” Stegner said. “We don’t really talk much about it but there’s a culture here and they want to be successful.”