Scoring goals are essential in any win but an offense is only as good as its defense. Luckily for the St. Anthony’s girls soccer, team they don’t struggle on either side of the field.
Offensively, the Friars scored 62 goals for the season, a fantastic feat on its own. But the highlight was the team’s daunting defense. The Friars allowed only five goals in 17 games, going on a nine-game shutout streak to finish the regular season.
It’s no wonder St. Anthony’s went undefeated and won the state CHSAA championship. And yes, the Friars’ win in the title game was a shutout.
“Our back line and goalkeeper were exceptional this year,” coach Sue Alber said. “I believe it was the most shutouts and least goals allowed in my four years here.”
The Friars, after losing to Sacred Heart last year in the Nassau-Suffolk CHSAA final, were on a mission all season, determined to remain undefeated and win the state title.
None of the Friars’ opponents scored more than one goal in a game all season. Four of the goals allowed were on set pieces.
“It’s all about preventing the shot before it happens, especially with me being so short” senior goalie Vanessa Cole said. “Communication is key. Nobody in the back line, including myself, ever gets offended when other teammates made demands because we all want what’s best for the team.”
Cole’s boisterous cheers and instructions in the net make her the tallest girl on the field. With her sight advantage, Cole gives advice to the entire team ensuring that no opponent gets near her and that the offense sees every hole.
“Vanessa never hesitated to give directions,” senior center back Jenn Bonifazio said. “We were always on the same page and became a really close group.”
Both Bonifazio and Cole agreed that while the defense did their jobs, the offense was always reliable. Whenever they passed the ball to the offense, they knew it was in good hands.
Brianna Passaro was the team’s leading scorer, netting 20 goals and assisting on 10 others. The humble junior credits the team for her success.
Next season, Passaro and St. Anthony’s will attempt to do it all again.
“I think that the whole team really proved themselves this year,” Passaro said. “We were a team and everyone played their role. We all encouraged each other and that’s what made us get so far.”
ROAD TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP
St. John the Baptist 3-0
Sacred Heart 2-0
Staten Island Notre Dame 8-1