Ava Voynovich is that last line of defense that every soccer team wishes for.
Roslyn’s junior goalkeeper has the rare talent of making the difficult look easy with her quick lateral movements across the goalmouth. Every time Glen Cove got a crack at her in their Nassau IV girls soccer game on Wednesday, she was right in front of it.
Voynovich made 10 saves and notched her sixth shutout as speedy Roslyn posted a 2-0 victory over the host Big Red and continued an ascent that it hopes will end with its first postseason appearance since 2016.
“Ava’s the glue to our team,” sophomore midfielder Hannah Goldberg said. “With her in the goal, we have stability.”
The Bulldogs have only four seniors however coach Andrew Demakopoulos saw something in their first game, a 3-0 win over Hicksville, that filled him with optimism for the season.
“I saw a group that really came together and played the way you hope they will,” he said. “They worked together, moved the ball from side to side and played unselfishly.”
The teamwork has continued and was there again against Glen Cove (4-3-2, 4-3-2).
Goldberg dribbled through several Big Red defenders in the 19th minute and then placed a pass that led freshman forward Avery Minsky right to the goal where she put Roslyn on the board with a low shot to the right side.
“It takes confidence to go at the defense like that, but I had it and then I saw Minsky slip free,” Goldberg said. Added Minsky “the pass was in the air, but it was right where I could take the shot.”
“The first goal of the game is always a boost,” freshman midfielder Gianna DiSanti said. “It lifts us and gets their heads down.”
About 10 minutes later junior midfielder Taylor Goldberg found DiSanti cutting for the goal and another shot to the lower right corner to make it 2-0.
“They were more physical, but we beat them with our speed,” DiSanti said.
Minsky and DiSanti play club soccer in the offseason and their arrival on the Bulldogs for their freshman seasons — along with several other new players — has given Roslyn a bigger base of talent. And there is depth, evidenced by how Demakopoulos substituted liberally to keep fresh legs on the field.
Voynovich said the quality of the practices this season has been superior to other years. She added that facing shots from DiSanti “makes me ready for the kind of shots I’ll see in a game.”
The Bulldogs are all aware of the postseason drought and are growing confident that they can end it. But to get there out of Conference IV, they only can afford one more loss.
“Everyone wants the playoffs and we know we have a shot,” Voynovich said. “We don’t think we can just make it there, but maybe go far.”