Clarke's run sparked by offense


Blink during a recent Clarke girls’ soccer game and you might miss a goal, or two or three. In back-to-back games last week, the Lady Rams (4-2-1 overall, 3-2-1 in Conference A-I) combined for nine, defeating Valley Stream North, 4-1, last Saturday and North Shore, 5-0, on Sept. 27. Perhaps most impressive is the balance in the scoring attack. Three girls scored at least one goal in each game with sophomore Hope Quinonez netting a natural hat trick—three straight goals—in the win over North Shore.

“Four games ago [scoring goals] was a weakness,” Clarke coach Becky Wachsberger said. “But we’re peaking at the right time. They’re playing well together as a team.”

Freshman Jen Wahlig, who scored twice in the win last Saturday and also had an assist, has been rock solid at center-midfield for Clarke, not only converting scoring opportunities but creating some for her teammates. Junior Dina Simonian has been a workhorse in the midfield, using her physical, aggressive style of play, while sophomore Nicole Russell and her sister, Caitlin, an eight-grader have also taken on key roles.

Sophomore Abby Trotter is just one of several key components on the offense which has proven to be quite deep. After tying for the team lead in goals last season, Trotter has yet to tally one but is working hard and the Lady Rams have still scored 14 goals in seven games. Junior Samantha Goodwin, a co-captain, scored on a shot from 20 yards out last Saturday. “We play high-pressure offense,” Wachsberger said. “When the ball is at [the opponent’s] end we want to squeeze them into making mistakes.”

Junior Amanda Astudino, a forward-turned-goalkeeper, has allowed just one goal in her last three starts, blanking not only North Shore but also Plainedge in a scoreless tie on Sept. 22 that extended into double overtime. In those three games she totaled eight saves playing behind a veteran defense that includes three players in their fifth season at the varsity level. “She’s getting better,” Wachsberger said. “She’s trained harder than anyone. She wants to be good and is getting that confidence.”

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