Balanced attack for Valley Stream


Valley Stream District girls’ lacrosse coach Jessica Zwicker isn’t a fan of playing games on consecutive days, but she wasn’t opposed of last week’s schedule after a disappointing 11-3 loss to Glen Cove at Firemen’s Field on April 9.

The following afternoon was a different story when Valley Stream had five players score at least twice in a 15-4 victory at Elmont. Bridget Dolan led the way with four goals, Antonia Buon and Kristen Piteo each had a hat trick, and Kallie Demas and Tanisha Verneus added a pair of goals apiece as the team evened its Conference V record at 3-3.

“Elmont’s always an aggressive and fast team,” Zwicker said after the game. “We were able to work on and correct things we didn’t do well yesterday against Glen Cove. We were better with our fakes and setting picks.

“I usually don’t care for back-to-back games,” she added. “But the fixes we needed to make on offense were easy ones.” 

A balanced offensive attack has been one of the keys for Valley Stream, which has four games remaining. “Everyone presents a threat,” Zwicker said. “We’ve had five or six different girls score almost every game.”

Demas, a senior at Central who takes the majority of face-offs, is the team’s rock, Zwicker said. A three-sport athlete, Demas is the type of player who makes others around her better. “She’s a strong two-way player who has amazing field sense,” Zwicker said. “She’s so unselfish.”

Dolan, a junior at South who has 23 goals, was on the receiving end of Demas’ biggest assist of the year March 29. With 19 seconds left in overtime, Dolan scored off a pass from Demas to give Valley Stream a 14-13 victory. “Bridget is one of our most improved players,” Zwicker said of Dolan, who forced OT with a goal with one second remaining in regulation. “She practices hard every day and is a great finisher around the cage.”

Verneus, an All-Conference selection in 2013, is a turnover-forcing defensive wing who ignites the transition game. “We needed her speed in the defensive midfield zone,” Zwicker said. “Her speed gets her in the right position to double the ball and create takeaways.”

Piteo, a junior at South, and Meaghan Adams, a freshman at Central, are speedy attack wings that communicate and pass well, Zwicker said. North sophomores Nicole Evangelista and Paige Maggio, who had a goal apiece in the win over Malverne/East Rockaway, are developing into steady contributors as well. Zwicker is also excited about defensive wing Nicole Cutrone, a sophomore at South who brings a high motor and level of intensity to the position.

Defense has been a strong point, Zwicker said, and junior Tiffany Schapira, a junior at South, is improving quickly as a first-year goaltender. Brianna Ricotta, a senior at Central, spearheads the unit in the back and leads the team in groundballs. Seniors Jessica D’Elia and Samantha Sancho, and junior Vanessa Salinas are other vital defensive parts.