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Newsday's Athlete of the Week is Sacred Heart's Caitlin Kennedy

Coach Peter Bralower said Caitlin Kennedy "just has

Coach Peter Bralower said Caitlin Kennedy "just has a great sense for the goal.": Credit: James Escher

Four years ago, Caitlin Kennedy was a young freshman trying to prove herself among her older teammates on Sacred Heart's girls soccer team. By the time she was a sophomore, she became the team's primary scorer during its state CHSAA championship run.

Kennedy, of Manhasset, put together another strong season as a junior with 17 goals and eight assists and has picked up from there to begin her senior year, scoring five goals in her first two games — including scoring twice in a 4-1 home victory over Garden City Wednesday — to be named Newsday’s Athlete of the Week.

“I feel pretty good, I think the team is feeling pretty good, too, though,” Kennedy said. “I think we’re really coming out right from the start of the game.”

Kennedy is hesitant to take the majority of the credit herself as she would rather show her teammates appreciation for setting her up for goals. The senior credits the entire lineup, especially the chemistry formed with six senior players who started as freshmen for the Spartans.

“I feel like now this being our fourth year together, we all know each other great,” Kennedy said…"We’ve gained a lot of chemistry just playing together.”

Kennedy, a two-time Newsday All-Long Island selection committed to Fordham, has the speed and quickness to create for herself, but said she’s been fortunate to share the field with talented teammates.

“I try to keep practicing and keep getting better,” she said, “but also, just my teammates, they keep getting better and it keeps pushing us further and further.”

Sacred Heart coach Peter Bralower quickly noticed he had a special talent in Kennedy when she was one of the six freshmen to start and one of seven sophomores to start during their state championship season.

“She just has a great sense for the goal,” Bralower said. “She’s kind of unique where she hits the ball well with both feet and whereas she’s not a big player, she uses her body well. She has a bounce, she’s very good technically, she has a nice turn of speed when she needs to.”

And Kennedy looks to continue off her fast start, with the team sporting a 2-0 record through Thursday. She hopes to not only be a strong contributor on the field, but a leader off it in hopes of winning its second state CHSAA title in three seasons.

“I think the leadership from our captains when we won the state title was really important,” Kennedy said. “And I think that’s why a lot of us are trying to be strong leaders to the younger kids because I think that’s what helped us achieve that greatness.”

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