Though its record may not reflect it, the Lawrence girls’ soccer team has showed noticeable signs of improvement in 2019 and, with an infusion of young talent, is setting itself up for a bright future.
The Lady Golden Tornadoes have posted three victories and a tie, which is one win better than each of the last two seasons and two more than the dismal one-win campaign of 2016. They have also hung tough in some of their losses with a pair of two-goal defeats.
The effort has not gone unnoticed by third-year coach Katelynn Brandow.
“Within those three years, this is definitely the strongest team I’ve had,” she said. “I think the camaraderie has been really great. This has definitely been the most successful season we’ve had, not even just with me as a coach, but just in general over the past few years.”
The highlight of Lawrence’s season was a three-game unbeaten streak (2-0-1) in late September that followed a three-game losing streak. The girls posted a 2-2 tie at Malverne-East Rockaway on Sept. 23 before consecutive 3-1 home wins over Roosevelt (Sept. 25) and Sewanhaka (Sept. 27.)
Even though the Lady Golden Tornadoes were outscored 19-1 in the previous three games against the top three teams in Conference AB6, Brandow noticed some signs that her team was ready to break out.
“Even though the games that we lost were tough, from beginning to middle, you could see that we were starting to play soccer,” she said. “It wasn’t just kick the ball down the field and run. They were connecting passes, taking good shots and playing through balls, so our style of play got much better.”
Lawrence also had a strong showing against second-place Clarke (9-1-1) on Oct. 7, trailing 1-0 with two minutes remaining before yielding an insurance goal. Clarke won the first meeting 7-1 on Sept. 13 and its coach complemented Brandow and her team for their turnaround performance.
Sophomore Aziah Santizo scored both goals in the Malverne-East Rockaway tie and freshman Andie Adams got hot and tallied twice in each of the games against Roosevelt and Sewanhaka. Adams has a team-leading five goals in her first season with the team, also scoring the lone goal in Lawrence’s 1-0 season-opening win at Sewanhaka.
“She definitely has a lot of soccer knowledge,” said Brandow. “She knows how to find the net, she knows how to finish. She’s definitely making strides and I’m excited to see what she has in the future.”
Santizo is not far behind with three goals and has proven to be a top playmaker through hard work. “If there’s anyone that I can say that truly gives me 150 percent every game, it’s Aziah,” said Brandow.
Four seniors, midfielders Samantha Wilks and Genneses Arevalo-Clemente, sweeper Angie Calderone and stopper Jardina Gomez, also had solid final seasons. Their strong defensive play has also helped the development of freshman goalkeeper Priscila Leite, who is a JV call-up. Freshman forward Gabriela Cruz has also established herself as a future building block.