The Huntington High School junior varsity girls’ soccer team enjoyed a splendid season, compiling a 9-4-1 mark against many high quality foes.
Coached by physical education teacher Maria Canino, the 23 player squad was enthusiastic and well-balanced with a great mix of offensive and defensive stalwarts who took delight in winning as many games as they could.
The team was led by Adrianna LoScalzo (10 goals, three assists), Alexa Amorison (9g, 3a), Ally Kustera (71 saves in goal), Gianna Forte (7g, 5a), Kemberlin Hernandez-Veliz (3g, 11a), Bella Algieri (defensive captain), Jo Campos (stopper and captain), Alana Wallace (sweeper) and Analisse Batista (3a; defensive midfield).
“Adrianna has an amazing, natural touch on the ball and her knowledge and mental aspect of the game makes her a high caliber player,” Canino said.
“Alexa is another player we could always turn to and to put the ball in the back of the net,” the coach said. “With her speed and great touch on the ball, Alexa was definitely someone we could always rely on.”
Forte starred on the JV as an eighth grader. “She played like a sophomore,” Canino said. “She was a key part of controlling the middle of the field as an offensive midfielder. I can confidently say she was part of making things happen on the field.”
Hernandez-Veliz was another integral part of the team’s success. “Kem plays in such a calm, collected manner,” Canino said. “I believe this stems from the confidence she has gained on the field. She really grew into herself as a player, which allowed her to lead the team in assists.”
Kustera sparkled as the team’s goalkeeper, allowing only 19 goals in 14 games and stopping 71 shots. She recorded five shutouts. “Ally was absolutely amazing in the net for us,” Canino said. “Her skill, control and confidence progressed every single day. Having Ally in goal was a huge part of our success this year. Her skill, passion and desire to get better every day make me really look forward to her future in the program.”
The leadership provided by Algieri and Campos as the team’s captains was another key factor in Huntington’s nine victories. “I couldn’t have asked for more out of them,” Canino said. “They were such positive role models on this team. They always had a positive attitude and led by example. The kind-heartedness and character of these two young women is impeccable. On top of that, they are very good soccer players. Working alongside our sweeper, Alana Wallace and defensive wing Julia Gorecki, our defense was solid. They meshed very well together.”
Batista was exceptional at defensive midfield. “Analisse was able to cover the entire field and was always giving her teammates support or forcing turnovers to give us possession.”
The biggest win of the season was a 3-0 victory over Northport. The highlight of the year was how the team came together as a cohesive unit. “Their ability to click at such an early point in the season amazed me,” Canino said. During our first week of practice I knew this was going to be an unforgettable year with a group of very special young ladies. I’ve said it before, but the word ‘impressive’ is not strong enough for how I feel about these girls’ soccer skills, knowledge of the game, ability to work together and how they handle themselves on and off the field.”
The team consisted of eighth grader Gianna Forte; freshmen Analisse Batista, Hanna Garison, Ashley Genao, Evelyn Henriquez, Alexandra Kustera, Adrianna LoScalzo, Caroline O’Rourke, Zoe Sakellarios, April Swanson and Eliza Walther; sophomores Isabella Algieri, Alexa Amorison, Johanna Campos-Moreira, Giavanna Devoe, Sarah Giarraputo, Julia Gorecki, Kemberlin Hernandez-Veliz, Timmeree Koepele, Zadie Lauer, Floris Lopez Zelaya, Grace McKean and Alana Wallace.
“They are great kids with amazing personalities and the drive to become better versions of themselves and such kind hearts,” Canino said. “We had a lot of fun this year. It was an absolute honor to coach them.”