The Huntington varsity girls’ soccer team closed out the regular season in fine fashion, shutting out visiting Riverhead on Blue Devil Senior Day, 2-0.
Marissa Stafford broke a scoreless deadlock to put Huntington ahead in the first half, 1-0. Senior Alyssa Sorensen added a second half insurance goal. Senior Paige Lennon and freshman Emily Plachta had assists. Freshman goalkeeper Makaylah Frazier stopped six shots.
Prior to the start of the game, Huntington head coach John Walsh paid tribute to his eight seniors, speaking about each of them individually before a crowd of family and friends. The seniors included Isabella Floro, Natalie Gonzalez, Paige Lennon, Kiara Rafailan, Jaqueline Salgado, Alyssa Sorensen, Julia Tesoriero and Jenna Yabroudy.
“It’s been amazing to play on the soccer team,” Lennon said. “While I was on this team it felt like I was a part of a family. After a tough day a school, soccer always made it better. Leaving this team will be extremely hard for me, but I’m so glad I was given the chance to be a part of it.”
Everyone on the team was in a good mood on a very special day. “Playing these four years on this team has made me incredibly lucky,” Sorensen said. “I’m extremely happy I was able to meet such great people. I have become a better soccer player and a better teammate from this experience.”
Gorgeous posters commemorating the career of each of the seniors were created by underclassmen on the team and affixed to the front of the bleachers. The seniors posed with their family members before their respective poster.
“I loved playing my four years of soccer for the Blue Devils,” Gonzalez said. “I wouldn’t ask to play for any other team. I’m going to miss playing with my teammates. We will always be a family. It’s hard to say goodbye.”
Walsh was joined on the field by assistant coach Vinny Tannazzo who handed each of the seniors a bouquet of flowers and a gift bag.
“It was a pleasure playing with my teammates this year,” Rafailan said. “We really bonded over the season and I learned so much from them and about myself. Every day that I went into practice I learned something new. I’m so grateful to have been on the soccer team.”
Balloons were tied to the bleacher railings to creative a festive atmosphere. Walsh spoke from the heart of each member of the senior group. He has coached them for many years and they have all grown close to one another.
“For me, playing soccer for the Blue Devils has been very important and special,” Floro said. “I made a lot of new friends and learned to love the sport and coaches even more. I will miss everything, but I am happy to say I ended high school with a great season.”
“Capping off Senior Day with a shutout victory was an especially sweet way to cap off a special afternoon for a sensational group that represented Huntington with class every step of the way,” Walsh said.
As the seniors walked off the field following their last game, they were emotional. “Having the opportunity to play soccer as a Blue Devil has been one of the best experiences of my life,” Salgado said. “I’ve learned so much from my teammates and coaches who became my family in such a short amount of time. My life wouldn’t be the same without them. I’m beyond grateful for each and everyone one of them.”