Coming off an uber-successful season with some if it’s pieces still intact, the North Shore girls’ soccer team is staring at three final league games on its 2018 schedule, currently sitting at 1-2-3 within Nassau Conference AB1.
With a variety of teams within the conference showing promise but accumulating similar records, head coach Lauren Gotta is confident that her team can compete for the No. 2 spot.
“We’ve had a bunch of ties this year that we would have like to have won, but there are positives,” Gotta said. “We just tied Calhoun, the undefeated top team in the conference, and we played great despite a few of our starters being hurt.
“We moved the ball so well around them and played really well against essentially the best team in the county,” Gotta said.
North Shore’s 1-1 tie with Calhoun came in its last contest after Calhoun bested the Lady Vikes earlier in the season 2-1. In the most recent meeting, forward Cailey Welch scored early on while the North Shore defense, led by Taylor Berry, played very well. Goalkeeper Guilianna Graziosi did allow one goal in the second half, but was only forced to make 4 saves.
Gotta spoke candidly about her appreciation for Berry on the defensive end. “She is such a beast,” Gotta said. “She will run through a wall and get the ball every time. I have no idea how every attacking player that faces her isn’t afraid to play her.”
Gotta also spoke on Welch and her recent offensive resurgence. “Cailey started off slow at the beginning of the year but since then has started banging home goals,” Gotta said. She has netted 8 on the year and has collected 2 assists.
The Lady Vikings met Garden City on their home field earlier this week, after press time. Garden City has been North Shore’s only conference win thus far this year, and Gotta is looking forward to the rematch. “We’re all kind of in the same spot, they might be one team below us in the rankings, but it’s close…We’re looking to feed off of the Calhoun game and take that with us in to the Garden City game,” Gotta said. “No more ties. We are sick of not winning; we take ties as losses. We have beat them before but that wasn’t even our best game.
“We weren’t passing well and to this day, this is the best passing team I have ever coached,” she added. “So for Garden City, as well as Manhasset and Wantagh, we are going to play simple, and move up and down the field together.”
Gotta reiterated that she likes to keep a very simple game. One or two touch passes are preferred and no one player is going to make or break the team with flashy ball skills in the middle of the field. “We already have good soccer players, playing together is more important,” Gotta said.
As for the postseason on the horizon, Gotta was adamant: “Anything is possible…I keep telling the girls, ‘Remember last year’. Don’t take anyone for granted and let’s do this one game at a time.”