The Valley Stream South girls soccer team had a clear, unified mantra entering the season.
“The message has been all season, ‘Don’t let anybody write your story for you. Don’t let anybody tell you what you can do, can’t do, capable of.'” coach Demetri Adrahtas said.
It’s a message the players took to heart, and have bonded over. When they dance and hug after victories, it’s about enjoying the moment together. A moment that was unexpected by many when the season began, but became a clear reality as the season went on.
After becoming the lowest seed (No. 18) to win a county title in Nassau girls athletics history, the Falcons celebrated a trip to the state semifinals after defeating Islip, 1-0, in the girls soccer Long Island Class A championship/Southeast regional final Saturday evening at Islip High School.
Valley Stream South (19-0) advances to play Vestal in the state Class A semifinal Saturday at 3 p.m. at Tompkins Cortland Community College.
“We are definitely trying to prove that we are all we have, but that’s all we need,” said sophomore midfielder Mia Asenjo. “We don’t need anybody else. We don’t need all these other people because we know in our hearts that we have this and these teams are not expecting anything.”
Asenjo, who scored twice in the Nassau Class A championship, continued her impressive season with the game’s lone goal, striking from about 30 yards out to the top-left corner of the net off a touch pass from Yasmin Voytelmgum with 23:55 left in the second half.
“Throughout the game in my head, I just said ‘Keep taking shots, keep taking shots. It’s coming,’” Asenjo said. “And then I said ‘This is the one,’ and I shot it and it just went in.”
And even though the Falcons pictured themselves playing - and winning - a Long Island title from their first fall meeting, the moment still surpassed their expectations.
“It’s something we had in mind,” said forward Bryana Pizarro. “But being on the field, it’s something different. It’s an even better feeling.”
Islip, which finishes its season 13-3-2, played a tough, physical game, without its leading scorer Dominique Bono, who tore her ACL in the county final.
“I just think they played 80 minutes of pure intensity, there was no let up there,” said Islip coach Mike Reilly. “Having a major kid like [Bono] go down, the kids stepped up. I couldn’t be more proud of this team.”
But the Valley Stream backline, featuring Lindsey Smith, Allyson Camacho, Nia Anjou and Hailey Roberts with Natalie Peralta making three saves in net, matched Islip’s intensity.
And as the Falcons have been doing since September, they look to continue to make history in Cortland, with goals of bringing home the school’s first state championship. Adrahtas added one the most impressive parts to him about the team's success is playing without standout midfielder Jessica Sierzega, who tore her ACL the fifth game of the season, but consistently picks up the team from the bench.
“We’re proving a group of underdogs can succeed,” Pizzaro said. “And not to give up on your dreams and to look at the picture ahead of you and don’t stop working until you get there. “Because one day you will.”