Improved West Hempstead defeats VSS


West Hempstead got the best of Valley Stream South in a Nassau girls’ soccer Conference A/B3 matchup Sept. 20, 4-0, behind 14 saves from goalkeeper Sophia Ciminera.

Both teams were coming off tough losses and were looking to right the ship.

“I thought we came out slow,” West Hempstead coach Kelly Byrne said. “I thought we made adjustments, offensively at halftime and we were able to feed plays and score goals.”

Early on it was all Valley Stream South as it kept the ball in the West Hempstead zone for the first five minutes. Forward Kelly Garay was the best player for the Falcons. Every time she had the ball on her foot she was able to make a play.

West Hempstead was able to turn the next 10 minutes into a back and forth battle. The Rams abd Falcons would each have their share of scoring opportunities. The game was deadlocked until the 18th minute when a deflected ball found the feet of West Hempstead’s Marissa Koller. She took one dribble and fired the ball into the back of the net to give the Rams a 1-0 lead.

For the next 15 minutes, West Hempstead kept the pressure on Valley Stream South’s defense and goalkeeper Mikayla Thomas. Juniors Madison Abi-Aoun and Sara Dos Santos led the attack, but the Rams could just not find their second goal.

Valley Stream South had a consistent attack with corner kicks form Nina Munafo and solid defense from Mia Maurice. With six minutes remaining, Kelly Garay hit the post and the Falcons could not capitalize and get even. West Hempstead defenders Ivana Jimenez and Willow Stern would help thwart the Valley Stream South attack before the half ended.

Valley Stream South started off the second half strong as Nicole Costanzo and Mikalya Wheeler had chances to score the equalizer, but could not get past Ciminera.

"I felt like the score was not a true indicator of the game," VSS coach Rich Boyd said. "We had a lot of play in their third of the field and a lot of corner kicks but just couldn't convert."

Just like the first half, Valley Stream South started off strong but West Hempstead would not go away. In the 14th minute Jancy Cabrera knocked a strong corner kick into the box where it bounced off a defender and into the net giving West Hempstead a 2-0 lead.

From there, Valley Stream South did its best to claw back, but Ciminera was not letting anything behind her. Madison Abi-Aoun used her speed and was sprung free twice on the counter-attack in the final 20 minutes of the match, bringing the Rams lead to 4-0.

The two stars for West Hempstead were junior captains Abi-Aoun and Ciminera. The Rams improved to 2-1.

“I'm really proud of all the girls,” said Abi-Aoun. “We have a great connection on and off the field and I think we can only get better from here.”

Added Ciminera: “We work well together and we're a strong team. We have a lot of potential and I think we're going to pull through and do really well this season.”

Valley Stream South will try to avenge the loss when it travels to West Hempstead for the rematch Oct. 11.