These were the words of the members of the Rocky Point High School girls’ soccer team, after they completed their schedule with an undefeated season.
This past Monday, they gained a hard fought 1-0 victory against the talented Wildcats of Shoreham-Wading River. Within every game, the “Lady Eagles” were a confident, but not a brash group of players, that never looked past any opponent. Currently, they are amongst the highest ranked teams within the state, and they look forward to the play-offs to continue their winning ways. Coach Peter Costa explained the dominant play of his girls as a “team that never quits in any game.”
It has been a unique year for the several seniors that comprise the nucleus of this team. Watching them interact with each other, they are an extremely close bunch that have formed an enduring bond on and off the field. This was demonstrated by senior right forward Gianna Amendola who scored the winning goal against Shoreham-Wading River. Amendola has been a scoring machine, as she leads the county with thirty-one goals, and she has set the single season record for the school. Against Shoreham, with three defenders on her, she scored the winning goal. Armed with a big smile and a can-do attitude, she is looking forward to playing next fall for a dominant four-year college.
Next to Amendola is the “comic relief” for this team in defender Victoria Curreri. She was extremely proud of the “Great Wall of Defense” that this group has established in allowing only eight goals during the season and supporting the team with ten shutouts. All the defender’s credit Junior MaryKate Abernethy’s remarkable play in the net, to only allow eight goals within 16 games. Next fall, Curreri will be playing lacrosse at Iona College in New Rochelle.
Always with a huge smile, forward Alex Kelly has been a major presence on the offense. This talented four-year varsity soccer player and track and field jumper and sprinter will be attending Princeton University next fall. She has been a dominant offensive figure in creating the greatest number of assists and ranking second in points in Suffolk County. This young lady that is always known for her positive demeanor, is also a tenacious player that makes her presence felt on the field. Kelly has thoroughly enjoyed her time playing since her childhood with many of these girls who are about to graduate.
Another important member of this team is Megan Loeser. The center mid-fielder is an extremely talented player that has been an important cog towards the success of this team. Awarded All-League and Division honors, this three-year captain can always be seen hustling and pushing her teammates against the opposition. This “field general” identifies this team as the hardest working group that she has played with during her 14-year soccer career for school and travel leagues. Always an upbeat young lady, Loeser expects to continue playing soccer in college.
Next to Loeser, is her best friend and nearby neighbor in Lindsey Lucia. An aggressive defender, she has a strong understanding of this sport, especially during big games. Like many of the other girls, she began playing sports within the CYO leagues. Lucia wears a large trade-mark smile, where this genuine student-athlete has been a starting varsity three-year captain. This spirited team leader has established the Rocky Point mantra for competing against difficult teams like that of Shoreham, East Islip and Hauppauge, is to handle each game like it’s the play-offs. Lucia will be attending C.W. Post next fall, where she will be playing lacrosse in Brookville.
Mia Negus recalls her younger moments of being taught this game with her teammates within the fields of Frank J. Caraseti Elementary School. She is a vital member of the vaunted defense that has made it extremely difficult for opposing schools to score against Rocky Point. Negus is excited to complete her high school on one of the most successful team’s in school history.
Senior Kaitlyn Reilly could be one of the most versatile student-athletes on this team. While she is a soft-spoken young lady, Reilly is a tough defensive player, that is proud of a group that always pulls for each other. This amazing student would like to play at a respected four-year school next fall, where she would like to major in elementary education.
Looking up the field, Reilly often passes the ball to Lilly Resciniti, who is an extremely capable mid-fielder. Resciniti like that of Loeser, Kelly and Amendola, is a dominant member of this team, where she skillfully helps the offense and defense. She views the concentration of this team as a key factor within its “mind-set” to always practice and play 110% of the time. An extraordinary student that is academically ranked tenth in her class, this mid-fielder is looking forward to attending medical school and studying neuroscience.
Sophia Wood is extremely pleased to be a part of the “insane talent” that has surrounded this team. Wood is a center mid-fielder that is looking forward to playing against the best players in Suffolk County during the play-offs. Like the other girls, she is thrilled to be part of a team that is extremely close, where they like to spend time together through their weekly pasta parties.
Wood will be playing lacrosse next fall at St. Leo University. All of the girls would like to thank their fellow senior back-up goalie Julia Darby that has played with them for the last four years. Her support has been instrumental in helping the team prepare during practices and before games against some of the best teams in the county.
Many years down the road, as these ladies pursue their own path’s in life, they will always recall this regular season, where they were undefeated before the play-offs. With a sincere affection towards each other, the comradery of this group will continue to push them through the rigors of the play-offs.
Costa believed that the “success this year has been our team bond. The players care for each other, they cheer for each other and spend time off the field together. Every practice is fun, and it is filled with energy.”
Long time Athletic Director Charles Delargy stated that an “undefeated season is a great accomplishment. To do it in power ranking where a team has to play against 16 different opponents is even more amazing.”
And underclass players Michalina Wojnowski and Emily Velasquez understand the sheer presence of these strong players and they have expressed their gratitude in being part of a positive team that always strives for excellence.
Rich Acritelli is a social studies teacher at Rocky Point High School and an adjunct professor of American history at Suffolk County Community College.