The Baldwin girls’ soccer team lost its Darcy twins but not the hope of a repeat conference championship or did it lose the ability to put the ball in the net.
With a young and potent front line, Baldwin coach Lee Rogers still feels, despite realignment, it will contend for a second straight conference title.
Kaitlin Timmes and Lizzy Hill, two 8th graders who played last season, are in place as freshmen starters. The addition of talented 8th grader, Malia Robinson, provides even more firepower.
“We have a more diverse set of girls up front,’’ junior co-captain Anabelle Lopez said. “That will benefit us. Although we did lose the Darcys, we have players with different skill sets and offer more to the team as well. I think we’ll be very good up front.”
The Bruins move to the new AA/AAA3 as Nassau County restructured divisions based on ability. Baldwin has just four seniors.
“It’s going to be more competitive, but I wouldn’t say it’s a longshot (to repeat),’’ said Rogers, who brings with him a British coaching philosophy as an Englishman. “We have a very good team that’s young. We have confidence in the girls that we can repeat last year.’’
Essentially, Jessica and Taylor Darcy were Baldwin’s offense in 2022. “We are much more of an offensive unit than last year,’’ Rogers said. “We relied last year on the twins. It’s much more of a balance. We have four girls competing for spots up front. I didn’t have that last year. Plus, they’re all young.’’
The youngest is Robinson, who performed shockingly well during the summer league competition that Baldwin captured. She will start at forward and could be the team’s top goal-scorer.
Robinson has already scored a goal in each of its two wins - 4-0 over East Meadow on Sept. 11 and a 2-0 triumph over Division on Sept. 13. Baldwin started 2-1.
“She’s got great ball control,’’ Rogers said of Robinson. “ She has that drive it takes for a forward to want to go to the goal and take players on and she’s able to finish. She has the mind of a midfielder that plays forward. She reads the game really well.’’
Timmes also should be finding the net. Rogers called her “very fast”. “She’s all over the place,’’ Rogers said. “She puts pressure constantly on players.’’
Midfielders, junior Avery Thomas and senior Anna Wehr, give the squad a good base but right midfielder, Lopez, represents the lubricant to the engine working most efficiently.
Against Division, Lopez scored on a 25-yard blast. “(Lopez) has great ball skill and speed so she can get out on the right side and can cross the ball every single time,’’ Rogers said.
The offense is expected to be the team’s strength even as the defense added senior Haiti Vann, who opted not to play last season and was team manager.
Vann joined senior defender Jenesis Bristol, who brings leadership and communication to the backline. Sophomore Dee Ikechukwu returns as a solid goalkeeper after nearly winning the conference’s goalie-of-the-year award.