The J. Taylor Finley Middle School boys’ soccer “blue” team showcased many talented young players this fall. The Falcons compiled a 6-4 record and provided a glimpse of what’s in the pipeline for the high school program.
Coached by Danielle Lusardi, Finley-Blue was led by six skilled eighth graders, including striker Stiven Zuniga Carbajal, who notched 12 goals, center midfield Jairo Ulloa (three goals), midfield Benton Cueto (three goals), striker Trevor Cueto (one goal) and defensive specialists Ethan Franciscovich and CJ Kiviat.
“Trevor and Benton are firecrackers on the field,” Lusardi said. “They help to ‘up’ the pace of the game and make it exciting for everyone. Ethan and CJ are solid defenders. I can’t wait to watch them develop at the high school.”
Ulloa also turned in a sensational campaign. “Jairo is a solid and reliable center midfield who is lights out when it comes to free kicks and penalty kicks,” Lusardi said. “He has a great attitude and was a great role model for the team. He continues to grow, mature and develop each year. I am proud to have coached him the past two years.”
The highlight of the season was a 5-4 win at Brentwood North on October 14. “We dug deep,” Lusardi said. Finley also claimed victories over Kings Park-White (2-0), Kings Park-Maroon (6-1), West Islip-Udall (3-2), Elwood (5-4) and West Islip-Beach (6-2). The Falcons dropped games to Hauppauge (3-2), Finley-White (3-2), Oldfield (1-0) and Brentwood West (5-1).
“Being a mixed team of seventh and eighth graders, we really had to learn how to play as a unit on top of learning each other’s names,” Lusardi said. “I’m proud of what we accomplished as a team; both the ‘A’ and ‘B’ squads.”
The Falcons outscored their opponents by a 32-25 margin. Ulloa, Arnold Alfaro and Andreas Seferian led Finley in assists. The team won four of its final six games.
Looking ahead to next fall, Lusardi sees nothing but good days for Finley. “Our seventh grade development was incredible,” she said. “They worked hard and progressed immensely. I can’t wait to coach them again next year.”