The J. Taylor Finley Middle School girls’ soccer team featured one of the largest rosters in all of Suffolk and the squad utilized that talent to notch a winning season.
Finley boasted 39 players in uniform and head coach Linda Costello-Roth got everyone as much time on the field as she could. The Falcons compiled a 5-4-1 record. All four losses were by one goal and came at the hands of Hauppauge (3-2), Kings Park (2-1 and 2-1) and Elwood (4-3).
The season was an impressive turnaround from a year earlier when Finley finished with a 0-9-1 mark. “The girls worked exceptionally well together,” Costello-Roth said. “The leadership of the eighth graders helped the seventh graders grow as players, both in their individual skills and in team play.”
The Falcons’ 19 eighth grade players helped propel the team to a fine fall campaign. The group included Analisse Batista, Madelyn Bavaro, Katie Browne, Cynthia Contreras, Makaylah Frazier, Ashley Genao, Caroline Gorecki, Jasjeet Kaur, Ally Kustera, Adrianna LoScalzo, Paula Luna-Szodo, Adrianna Martinez, Katerin Moya, Caroline O’Rourke, Brianna Quesquen, Kailey Rappel, April Swanson and Eliza Walther.
The team’s 20 seventh graders, who are all eligible to return next fall, included Mackenzie Ahern, Sana Amin, Abigail Baade, Miranda Bellissimo, Hope Bilkey, Ava Brandine, Britany Delao-Romero, Megan Donaghy, Brooke Evans, Gianna Forte, Aislyn Franciscovich, Lauren Gennarelli, Ella Kamenstein, Renee McKean, Gabriella Miller, Margaret Morrisroe, Jillian Panos, Neha Rathore, Theresa Rivera and Haileigh Smith.
The goalie corps consisting of eighth graders Ally Kustera and Madelyn Bavaro and seventh grader Ava Brandine was magnificent. The trip assumed leadership roles on the field, shouting instructions to teammates regarding positioning and coverage.
Eighth graders Kailey Rappel, April Swanson and Katie Browne and seventh graders Gianna Forte and Neha Rathore provided the bulk of the offensive firepower with additional assistance from several other talented goal scorers.
Defensive standouts included Paula Luna-Szodo and seventh graders Miranda Bellissimo and Renee McKean.
“The team did a great job this year and put in their best efforts,” said Kustera, who shined in goal. “I’m very proud of my teammates am proud to be a part of this team.”
Finley claimed a pair of victories over local rival Stimson and also won games against Oldfield, Elwood and Hauppauge. The final game of the season, a rematch against Oldfield ended in a 3-3 stalemate.
“The team was a lovely group of girls,” Costello-Roth said. “They worked hard each and every day. The forecast for next year is excellent. Everything looks very good.”