“The Force” says it’s going for a fourth. The Force being the Massapequa girls soccer team, led by captain Hope Breslin and co-captain Julia Orphals.
The three-time defending Class AA state champions are back like Han Solo and they are looking for that fourth title.
“Last season . . . we were all really close and had the similar goal of winning state,” Ophals said. “That three-peat was so important to us. Our [nick]name is The Force so the four is in our name. It’s kind of our ultimate goal.”
A goal echoed throughout all the girls. But first they have to summon some Jedi power in the form of their defense.
“Last year we had a core group of defenders that graduated,” coach Bruce Stegner said. “We have to revamp our defense. We have a lot of new players coming in trying to earn playing time and we’re putting that puzzle together.”
The Chiefs’ style revolves around moving the ball from the back forward, something the new defenders will have to get used to, Stegner said. The team, however, is sound offensively, thanks to those returning, including Julianna Diesel, Marisa Fishetti, Kyleigh Gallagher, Julia Hannon and Grace Bernardi. Those players combined with Ophals and Breslin totaled 50 goals.
Of those, 28 came from Breslin.
“I’ve been on the team since ninth grade. I feel like I have a lot of experience and this year I was voted captain,” Breslin said.
Breslin was a major contributor last season, scoring some of the final goals leading up to the championship. Stegner describes Breslin as a “humble and “dynamic player” who “plays the ball with both feet.”
Breslin says she has two goals this season, break the Massapequa goal scoring record and, of course, win that fourth title.
“We have other [defensive] girls who need to step up but as the season goes on they will be able to fill in. We’re here to win,” Breslin said.
A statement that rings true for Stegner.
“I take it one game at a time. If we don’t win, then there’ll be some other coach of the year or player of the year,” Stegner said. “ It’s about winning and at the end, all that other stuff is kind of gravy.”