The West Islip girls soccer team isn’t concerned with playing the most flashy brand of the sport. All that matters is the end result, and the Lions are willing to do whatever it takes for victory.
“Our team, we’re kind of ‘blue collar soccer’ and it’s not all about skill, it’s about heart and grit for our team,” forward Jaden Hampel said. “It’s not about who is going to do the fanciest footwork. It’s who’s going to beat somebody to the ball and stand your ground and push through the ball.”
Few players better embody this mantra than Hampel. She positioned herself and fought through multiple players to turn loose balls into a pair of goals in West Islip’s 2-0 win over Northport in a Suffolk Division I match on Monday.
“We told them we take a blue collar approach where you’re fast, you’re physical, tough, anticipating,” coach Nick Grieco said. “And I guess she takes that to heart because I feel like that’s how she plays.”
Hampel opened the scoring with 27:30 remaining in the first half. She struck with her right foot from 18 yards out after battling defenders and fielding a ball played in from Amanda Sgueglia on a few bounces.
“I knew no matter what, even if they wanted it or not, I just had to run through the ball,” Hampel said. “And I was lucky enough that it bounced over their heads and I just kept running through it. I didn’t stop once.”
She stuck again after positioning herself between two defenders at midfield and turning a ball from Sara Mitchell into a breakaway goal with 19:35 remaining in the game.
“I saw the ball going into the two girls and I knew they had it,” Hampel said. “But I knew I had to run through it and I got a nice flick on it and I just ran as fast as I could around them.”
The backline of Kaitlyn Krupski, Brianna Siclari, Ali Getfield and Sgueglia limited the chances for Northport (7-5-1). Isabella Tomeo had seven saves for West Islip (8-3-2), which has won four straight by a combined 11-0 score.
“It’s really the same thing Jaden said, our team is all about working hard and grit and getting to the ball first,” Sgueglia said. “And in order to stay compact on defense, we always communicate with each other, make runs back if we miss the ball so we are always protecting the net.”