Stephanie Radakovic wants to make her last season playing soccer at Sachem North a special one, and so far, she and her teammates have done just that.
Despite coming off a five-win season last year, the Flaming Arrows already surpassed their total through the first seven games and currently have a 7-1-1 record through September 29.
“It’s so much fun,” Radakovic said. “Honestly, this is my favorite season so far and it’s so great because it’s my senior year. We’ve been putting so much hard work and effort.”
That effort has paid off against some of the best teams in Suffolk AA, playing in a competitive League I. After opening the season with a 2-2 tie with Commack, Sachem North rattled off six straight wins by a combined 20-2, highlighted by a 3-0 win over defending league champions, Ward Melville.
“That’s always been the case with League I, every game is a dog fight,” coach John Montalbano said. “And I think that’s a message that we and as coaches try to continuously reinforce with our girls that every time you step on the field, it’s going to be an absolute battle and they acknowledge that.”
Montalbano credited much of the team’s success to a strong, experienced senior class including Radakovic (six goals, four assists), Caitlyn Humann (four goals, six assists), Jenna Blank (six goals, two assists), Kori Striano (center-midfield) and junior defenders Kaila Hinchman and Erin Avanzato.
Even an injury to the solidified starting goalkeeper, Amanda Steinberg, couldn’t slow the Flaming Arrows down as Lauren Makely has taken over in net since the second game of the season.
“We’ve always known she was a very, very good goalie, it’s just Amanda has been our starting keeper for a couple of years now and it was just a matter of Lauren waiting her turn,” Montalbano said. “She’s always put in the work on the side and she was ready to go when we needed her.”
With the early-season success, Sachem North has lofty goals this fall after missing the playoffs two of the last three seasons.
“League champions is in our vision,” Radakovic said. “But if not, we just want to make playoffs and just win every game because every game is an accomplishment to win.”