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Cloudy,32°
Sunday, December 21, 2014
Revamped defense a key for Mepham
Jeff A. Wilson/Herald
Freshman Erin Gilroy had three goals and one assist in Mepham’s first two games of 2012.

Mepham’s made some considerable changes to its defense for the 2012 season, but the Lady Pirates still kicked things off with a 2-1 start including a split of Conference AA-1 games.

After opening with consecutive victories, one of the non-league variety, Massapequa stopped Mepham’s early run with a 2-1 victory last Friday, netting both of its scores in the second half. The Lady Pirates were staked to a one-goal lead at halftime with freshman midfielder Erin Gilroy, an All-Conference returnee, tallying a goal before leaving the game due to injury.

“When she came out we had to make changes and didn’t adjust [well],” Mepham coach Samantha Foronjy said. “When it was 1-1 we played more defensively and not as we usually do.”

Junior goalkeeper Nadine Simpson had 10 saves in the loss, her first at the position. An All-County sweeper last season, Simpson volunteered to become the team’s last line of defense during the offseason and do far, the results have been fantastic. Aggressive and smart with a good sense for the game, perhaps her biggest trait is her leadership on a defense that is still transitioning some familiar faces into new places. “She’s been amazing,” Foronjy said. “She was a leader on the field last year and she communicates well. [Even as the goalie] she’s still watching out for the defense.

“It’s incredibly important that she’s taking on a new position so well. It’s a lot to ask from a kid and she’s doing an amazing job. I think we’re going to have a lot of growth in a short period of time.”

Senior co-captain Jessica Gelbwaks and juniors Sam Trupo and Emily Schmidt, the latter a returning All-Class honoree, are key players on the defense, and junior Toni Simpson, a three-year starter, can play both sweeper and stopper.

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