Adversity struck Baldwin’s girls’ soccer program months before its first season under new coach Lee Rogers commenced when All-Conference goalkeeper Megan Doyle suffered a torn ACL while playing lacrosse last spring.
Doyle, who as a junior posted seven shutouts, underwent surgery in early August and will serve as the team’s manager and contribute in “any way possible,” Rogers explained. “Megan’s great and it’s tough to see her go through this and miss her senior soccer season,” Rogers said. “Goalie quickly became my biggest concern, but our replacement has potential.”
The Lady Bruins, who won eight games a year ago and reached the Nassau Class AA semifinals, will have junior Kimora Bedeau between the pipes. She split time at the JV level in 2018. “She’s got a lot of work to do, but she’s not new to the position,” Rogers said. “She’s tall and moves well.”
Rogers, in his 12th year coaching soccer in the district, believes the defense in front of Bedeau is an area of strength. The unit is led by senior sweeper/stopper Elena Randolph, who brings an all-around solid skill set as well as experience. She’s also one of four captains.
The new coach plans to experiment using senior Brianna Lopez, a returning starting defender, at the offensive end, after watching her put the ball in the back of the net on a consistent basis during the summer. Lopez notched the winning goal in last year’s playoff victory over Port Washington. “She’s strong with the ball at her feet and has speed,” he said.
Another fleet of foot is junior defender Jahibo Lewis, who assumes a larger role after getting reserve minutes a year ago. “She controls the ball well and knows what to do with it,” Rogers said. Juniors Sterling Young-Wells and Danielle Palmer are other key parts of the group.
At center-midfield, the Lady Bruins are thrilled to add senior Kaleena Guadalupe, a high-level talent who can set the tone. “She has abilities that are hard to teach,” said Rogers, who expects her to play a vital role both offensively and defensively, as well as handle free kicks and some corners. “She reads the game so well and covers a lot of ground.” Guadalupe and senior Diana Guiracocha didn’t take long to develop outstanding chemistry, the coach noted. On the outside, senior Janelle Harty brings varsity experience while sophomore Melanie Hernandez and freshman Jessica Darcy bolster depth.
At forward, junior Alyssa Hillian figures to be as dangerous as any goal scorer in Class AA. She had 11 goals last season and averaged more than a goal per game in summer league action. “She’s a proven scorer who worked on her game and improved over the summer,” said Rogers, who plans to use three forwards with sophomore Stephanie Hernandez and freshman Taylor Darcy in line to contribute.
Baldwin will run with the big dogs in Conference AA-I and face defending county champion Syosset, runner-up East Meadow, Farmingdale, Massapequa and Plainview-JFK twice apiece.