The Huntington girls’ soccer team is kicking off its season this week, with a pair of daily practices. The Blue Devils are determined to play well enough to reach the Suffolk playoffs.
Similar to past seasons, Huntington has some holes to fill after losing several top players to graduation. A strong nucleus is returning to the field and coaches John Walsh and Vincent Tannazzo are optimistic and excited.
Veteran varsity players Christina Aureliano, Megan Bacik, Grace Connell, Hailey Gallagher, Alexandra Lourenso, Nicole Muszynski, Cathryn Ricciardelli, Katie Seccafico, Alyssa Sorensen, Marissa Stafford and Amber Stieve are all back for the Blue Devils. So is senior Nicole Abbondandelo, who sat out last year while rehabbing from an injury and surgery.
There will be some new faces in the Blue Devil varsity lineup. One of the promoted players is Ainsley Lumpe, who is expected to be the team’s starting goalie after a string of thrilling performances as an eighth grader on last year’s junior varsity squad.
“I’m very excited for the season to start and think we are going to be a strong team this year,” said Stieve, who will help anchor the defense. Huntington struggled last fall, compiling a 4-9-2 mark. One of the victories came over defending county champion West Islip. But a new season has brought with it high hopes for success.
“It will be great to have Nicole Abbondandelo back this year,” said Stafford, who is expected to start at midfield and be one of the team’s best players. Abbondandelo is a track star and the speedy teenager was a defensive specialist for the Blue Devils during her first two years on the varsity.
Blue Devil girls' soccer coach
Ricciardelli, Seccafico, Aureliano and Connell will also be counted on by Walsh and Tannazzo to help pace the team this fall. The coaches are determined to have a more productive offense than the Blue Devils have been able to muster in recent campaigns.
“I’m very excited for the season and feel we will be very determined to make it far in playoffs and have a good record,” Seccafico said.
Last year’s Huntington JV finished the season with a 7-7-2 record under head coach Maria Canino. Several of Lumpe’s teammates from that squad will be joining the gifted teenager on the varsity. Walsh will use the next week to make roster decisions while players are conditioning and working on their skills.
Huntington will travel to Bay Shore next Wednesday (August 30) for a scrimmage at 8:30 a.m. The first game is set for Wednesday, September 6 at home against Half Hollow Hills East. Home and away league games are scheduled with Hills East, Newfield, Smithtown West, Centereach, Copiague and Smithtown East. A non-league contest at Walt Whitman on Saturday, September 16 will also be played.