Oceanside braces for tough stretch


Always listen to your coach.

Leigha Zaman had two goals and an assist and Samantha Gemmo and Kaylin Harrington added first-half tallies as Oceanside ended a two-game shutout losing streak with an impressive 4-0 win at previously unbeaten Port Washington in a non-conference girls’ soccer matchup last Friday evening.

Gemmo and senior Blake Goldstein added assists for Oceanside, which was blanked in its previous two games by Syosset and Massapequa. Junior goalkeeper Estela Quintero had 3 saves in her first start of the season.

Zaman, who had five goals as a sophomore in 2022, heeded the positioning advice of coach Mariana Winchester at practice to get her first goal of the season.

“She tries to drive through people, where at times she can,” Winchester explained. “[Friday night], she did what I asked her to do in practice where she has her back to the defender. I said, ‘When you receive the ball at your feet, pass it back to your center-mid and roll off your defender and you’ll get it back. That’s exactly what she did. She got the ball back and she shot.”

On her second goal, Zaman took a pass from Gemmo and outran her defender before putting the ball in the net.

“She could be and should be one of my high scorers of the season,” Winchester said of Zaman.

The win evened the Sailors’ record at 2-2 (1-2 in Conference 1), heading into a tough stretch that started with a home game against Garden City followed by road games against defending Long Island-champion MacArthur on Thursday and South Side on Saturday to start a run of four straight away contests.

Oceanside split 12 AA1 games last year and this year’s schedule consists mostly of unfamiliar opponents due to the conference change.

Goldstein’s assist gave her a team-leading four points through four games. She scored twice and set up Gemmo's score in Oceanside’s 3-1 season-opening win over Manhasset on Sept. 11.

“She’s like my little quarterback in the center,” Winchester said of the midfielder. “She has to realize, even from last year, that she has a leg that can shoot from 25-30 yards out. In the first game, she shot from the outside and she was able to loft it over the goalkeeper’s hand. She controls the pace in the middle.”

Winchester is also hoping junior Addison Vice, who had a pair of goals last season, can provide some offensive depth.

The Sailors are deep at midfield this year to the point where Winchester can rotate her lineup without a drop off. Harrington, Ella McCowen, and freshman Gianna Viscone can also play center middle and Samantha Friedman, Vanessa Frangiadakis, Helena Nestico and Cat Evans man the outside.

Winchester also has trust in her defense led by junior Savanah Castorio, promising freshman Madeline MacMurray, and senior Jessica Banta, who is back from a torn ACL. Sophomore Ryann Zydor is also playing “solid defense”, according to Winchester, after playing midfield last year.

Junior goalkeeper Julianna Ewashko made 14 saves over the first three games before yielding to Quintero, who may still see action this week.