Revamped defense a key for Mepham


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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