After a season that saw Malverne/East Rockaway pick up just four conference victories, the Lady Rockin’ Mules have already eclipsed that mark at the halfway point of the 2012 soccer season.
Karina Alvarado’s goal with just 2:14 to play gave Malverne/East Rockaway a 2-1 road victory at Lawrence last Saturday. With the win, the team improved to 5-1 in Conference A-IV. Junior Joseline Jimenez scored her third goal of the season for Lawrence’s only tally.
Malverne/East Rockaway carried the play for much of the first half, but neither team was able to create many scoring opportunities. With less than six minutes to play in the opening half, the Lady Rockin’ Mules got on the scoreboard when Rachael Putelo found the back of the net off a corner kick from sophomore Jaelyn Chinchilla.
It appeared Malverne/East Rockaway would take a 1-0 lead into the halftime break, but Jimenez evened things up with just 1:17 remaining in the half.
As time wound down in the second half, Lawrence (1-3) was more than willing to play for the tie, but an errant kick put the ball on Alvarado’s foot, and the senior forward easily put the ball past keeper Nicole Robinson for the game winner.
Head coach Joe Lores likes the way his team is playing. “The girls have good chemistry and are playing like a cohesive unit,” Lores said. “They’re never too high and never too low. Our experience is paying off. The girls are doing a terrific job.”
Defense has been the biggest key. The Rockin’ Mules give up few scoring opportunities and first-year keeper Liz Wilson typically faces just a handful of shots. Malverne/East Rockaway has posted four shutouts. Senior sweeper Jessica Deptulski, a four-year varsity performer, leads an experienced, talented defensive unit. Junior Danielle Beauchesne and sophomore Abby Blessington round out a solid back line that has yielded just five goals in six games.
At midfield, Malverne/East Rockaway is led by Chinchilla, senior Taylor McGinn and senior captain Kathleen Owens. Chinchilla has a knack for setting up teammates, and has four assists to show for it. Putelo and Erica Acampora form a pair of skilled freshmen with excellent soccer IQ.
While Malverne/East Rockaway has more scoring threats than it has had in the past, Alvarado, an All-Conference honoree as a junior, is clearly the go-to girl. She has scored in each game the Rockin’ Mules have won. Sophomore Samantha Partos is a versatile player who can fill in at six different positions.
Lores, who is assisted by Jen Connell, thinks this team can have a solid season. “We definitely have an edge on defense,” Lores said. “We’re sound on the back line and have limited the opponent’s chances, but we need to create more scoring opportunities for ourselves,” Lores said. “We can do a better job at playing the ball on the outside to spread the defense and open things up for our scorers.”