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Taylor Regensburger

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Newfield senior Emily Diaz sends the ball to the box. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Newfield’s girls soccer team is sharing the wealth.

Five Wolverines scored and four added assists in a 6-0 shutout of Copiague Sept. 25. Despite putting the game out of reach early, Newfield’s athletes were quick to point to missed opportunities.

“We need to finish the ball in front of the net more, but we had a lot of opportunities,” senior center back Taylor Regensburger said. “Having different opportunities gives us momentum going into the next game.”

Newfield sophomore Sierra Rosario sends the ball to her feet. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Senior midfielder Emily Diaz put the Wolverines on the board early, and midfielders freshman Nicole Niculescu and sophomore Karlie Martin also found the corners of the goal for a 3-0 halftime lead.

Despite the lead, Newfield fell victim to offside calls that halted breakaway opportunities.

“Credit to Copiague because they’re well-coached,” Newfield head coach Domenik Veraldi said. “Those offside traps aren’t us being more offside as them knowing exactly what they’re doing. It’s a lot of credit to Copiague and how much work they put into using that strategy to their advantage.”

Regensburger, Diaz and junior forward Kaitlyn Drennan tallied the second-half scores, but no one could take their eyes off sophomore center midfielder Sierra Rosario, who bounced up and down the field frequently unmarked despite Copiague screaming for coverage with each toss or send-in.

“I think everyone contributed to the game and did their own thing, but as a team we still worked well,” Rosario said. “We kept possession, which is something we’re working on, and we’re building that possession-based game by not just looking for the long pass.”

Verladi said he is also seeing the possession game develop.

“We want to keep the ball on the floor, we want to do a lot of off-the-ball movement, we want to work the ball to everybody,” he said. “We were a little inconsistent, but there’s steps in the right direction.”

The coach said he thinks his team has been overlooked after the Wolverines made it to the Class AA quarterfinals last season.

Newfield sophomore Karlie Martin battles for the ball at midfield. Photo by Desirée Keegan

“I think we were a little underestimated heading in,” he said. “Last year we ended in a good spot and graduated several seniors, so I think people thought we had a young team and it won’t be the same team.”

With the win the Wolverines are now 4-2 at the halfway point in the season, dropping games to Half Hollow Hills East and Smithtown West, the team that knocked out Newfield in the postseason last year.

“Last year boosted our program’s confidence, so this year we’re looking to take that even further,” Rosario said.

Regensburger said she sees now what she may not have seen heading into the season.

“I didn’t think we’d be better than last year, but since we’ve come back and started playing, I think we can do even better and go farther in the playoffs,” she said. “We have a lot of strong young players.”

Veraldi said the next two weeks will be telling as to where his team will ultimately fall in the standings, but said the objective remains the same: get to the playoffs.

“They have acute senses,” he said of his Wolverines. “It looks like they want the ball, and they have a plan once they get the ball. They were able to move it in a fashion where they wanted to generate some offense, and we’re going to keep powering through.”

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The Newfield girls' soccer team walks off the field winners. Photo by Desirée Keegan

By Desirée Keegan

The Newfield girls’ soccer team faced an uphill climb late in its first-round playoff matchup with Bay Shore, but three clutch goals helped the Wolverines survive and advance.

Emily Diaz sends the ball into play. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Emily Diaz sends the ball into play. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Freshman Sierra Rosario headed in the final goal that gave her team a 4-3 lead with 3:41 left to play. It was the third scored in six minutes by the No. 7 Wolverines, as they battled back to top No. 10 Bay Shore in the first round of the Suffolk County Class AA playoffs Oct. 24.

“That was the scariest moment of my life,” Rosario, a midfielder, said of the final goal. “Vaneeya [Volino] put a good ball in, I flicked it and it went into the bottom right corner. Our heads could’ve gone down, but we kept lifting each other up. Everyone put in 100 percent of the effort from the first whistle to the last. No one really got down on each other, even going down two goals, we kept motivating one another and it shows we have so much heart.”

Newfield put on the pressure to start the game, keeping the ball in Bay Shore’s zone for most of the first half, but the two teams went into the break in a 0-0 draw.

“I need relentless off-the-ball movement,” Newfield head coach Domenik Veraldi said he told his team at halftime. “We need to keep up the intensity and the pressure.”

The Wolverines did just that in the second half. Senior defender Volino’s corner-kick goal just over a minute in off a send in from senior midfielder Kristen Prevosto gave Newfield the lead.

Kristen Prevosto celebrates her team's come-from-behind win. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Kristen Prevosto celebrates her team’s comeback win. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Junior goalkeeper Alexis Saladino made a diving save on Bay Shore’s first shot on goal of the game almost 10 minutes later. A direct free kick at the 20:20 mark went just over Saladino’s head, as she jumped straight up but couldn’t get her fingers on the ball. Six minutes later, she rushed out of the box to make a block, but missed on Bay Shore’s breakaway, as the ball rolled into the net to give the Marauders a 3-1 edge.

Prevosto pulled her team within one when she sent a shot from 20 yards out straight into the net off another free kick from Volino, and junior defender Taylor Regensburger tied the score off a breakaway pass from Volino with 6:38 left in regulation.

“I saw the ball and I thought the girl in front of me was going to head it, but I saw it go over and I know how to bring it down, relax and find the low corners, and I got it,” Prevosto said. “We came in, we were hungry, and obviously, we ate.”

Regensburger said her strategy was to also keep the ball low.

“It was me and the goalie and I knew I had to play to the corners because she’s very tall,” she said. “It feels great to come this far because we’ve never done it before.”

Taylor Regensburger heads the ball. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Taylor Regensburger heads the ball. Photo by Desirée Keegan

The Wolverines were part of a developmental league in 2012, designed for weaker teams to play competitive games without the possibility of postseason play, and tallied 15 wins over the following three seasons. Many girls on this Newfield team were on a two-win team in 2013.

“This is my favorite season so far,” said Veraldi, who was an assistant coach in 2012. “They just made a memory they’ll have their entire life. When they play with that kind of heart and that commitment — they never give up and you can see it there with three goals in under 10 minutes — they don’t cease to shock me. This is what we expect. I was composed when we were down 3-1 because I expected them to, as a team, pull it together and come through. And they did.”

Newfield travels to No. 2 Smithtown West Oct. 27 for a 2:30 p.m. matchup.

“Newfield came from a developmentally challenged team four years ago, to being here in the playoffs, and we’re not done,” Prevosto said. “It feels great to make it this far but we’re not finished. We’re going to go into the game on Thursday ready to win.”

Wolverines are on track to make the playoffs for the first time in over 10 years

Newfield's Emily Diaz gets her body on the ball as she sends it into the net. Photo by Desirée Keegan

All Emily Diaz had to do was put her body on it.

As senior center midfielder Kristen Prevosto sent in a corner kick for the Newfield girls’ soccer team, Diaz, a junior forward, was in the right place at the right time.

Newfield's Kristen Prevosto heads the ball. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Newfield’s Kristen Prevosto heads the ball. Photo by Desirée Keegan

“When I was standing in front of the net — I’m always on the goalie — I asked Emily [Caso] to go on the goalie so I could get the ball,” Diaz said of her game-winning goal. “I saw it, and thought, ‘this is me.’ So out of the air I had nowhere else to go with it then to push it with my stomach. It went in, and I was psyched.”

With a 2-1 victory over Smithtown East Sept. 26, the Wolverines are on track to make the postseason for the first time in over a decade. Although compiling two ties over a nine-game span, the Wolverines bested reigning state champion Port Jefferson, 3-2, in their season opener, proving they’re talented enough to hang with the best. They’re also learning from their mistakes.

Newfield tied Smithtown East, 1-1, the first time the two teams saw each other Sept. 7. This time around, the girls were hungry to continue their winning ways, with the team’s third straight win, and now have a record of 5-1-2 in League III.

“It’s one of the strongest starts we’ve gotten off to, ,” Newfield head coach Domenik Veraldi said. “But we just think about winning this game, winning the first half, winning the first 10 minutes and winning the ball. We compartmentalize into small, small goals and eventually when we accomplish those small goals it turns into what we want in the end.”

And Newfield did all of those things.

First, the team won the 50/50 balls, and despite Smithtown East senior midfielder Brianna Donato getting back-to-backs shots on goal, Newfield’s junior goalkeeper Alexis Saladino made save after save.

Smithtown East's Brianna Donato controls a pass. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Smithtown East’s Brianna Donato controls a pass. Photo by Desirée Keegan

“We try to keep the ball in the offensive third, and when we can do that, it takes the pressure off of our defense,” Veraldi said. “The only way to keep it up there is to win those air balls; work to every play. We train them to win — not the 50/50 balls — but our balls.”

Newfield junior defender Taylor Regensburger, who was soft but tactical with her foot skills, curled a corer kick into the goal to open the scoring for the Wolverines three minutes into the second half.

Three minutes later, Donato knocked the ball to the floor as she dribbled toward the box, and sent it into the left corner to tie the game for the Bulls.

The two teams traded possession throughout much of the game, but the Wolverines clawed their way up top, making strategic passes and remaining aggressive until, and even after Prevosto set up the game-winning shot.

“It’s awesome to see a team come together as well as we have,” Prevosto said. “I knew we needed to score, so I set the ball up, concentrated on where I was going to put it, and placed it.”

She said her team has improved tremendously from her eighth-grade year to now, and Diaz agreed.

“We have been playing together for a long time,” Diaz said. “We were a young team that continued to grow together. As the season progresses we build on that chemistry day after day, we’re working hard in practice, we’re all really good friends and it’s fun to be on the field, and that’s why we keep winning.”

Newfield's Taylor Regensburger leads the race to the ball. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Newfield’s Taylor Regensburger leads the race to the ball. Photo by Desirée Keegan

What she liked about her team’s style, compared to Smithtown East’s, is that the Wolverines use more combinations, whereas the Bulls kicked and ran.

Chemistry plays a part in the team’s ability to transition the ball up and down the field. Veraldi said because of this, his group is one to be reckoned with.

“When they play with that much heart and that kind of work ethic, we’re a dangerous team,” he said.

And Diaz anticipates for her team to take it all the way.

“We have to keep our heads up and keep fighting back for the win,” she said. “I have high expectations for us and we’re achieving them every game. We take it game by game by game, and we’re on the road to playoffs.”

Newfield's Kristen Prevosto challenges Half Hollow Hills West's Grace Walker as she reaches for the ball. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Many coaches say that the purpose of nonleague games is for one team to play a better team, or to “play up,” in an effort to raise their game and improve their play by facing a faster team with greater skillsets. Newfield girls’ soccer head coach Ann Marie Hassett agreed in the offseason to a nonleague matchup against Half Hollow Hills West, but this year she sensed something was different.

Newfield's Sierra Rosario battles a Half Hollow Hills West opponent for possession. Photo by Bill Landon
Newfield’s Sierra Rosario battles Half Hollow Hills West’s Nicole Gluckman for possession. Photo by Bill Landon

“This is the first year they’re not in our league, so when the coach called and asked if I wanted to play a nonleague game, I paused, because we’ve never beaten them in the eight years I’ve been here,” Hassett said. “But our team has come a long way. We’ve grown; we’ve played well together, so I thought that this time we could beat them.”

Her inclination was right, as on Saturday, for the first time in eight years, the Wolverines outlasted Hills West to claim a shutout victory, scoring three unanswered goals and using defensive play to keep their opponent on their heels.

Ten minutes in, Newfield sophomore midfielder Taylor Regensburger started the scoring when she drove her shot to the back of the net off a feed from eighth-grade midfielder Sierra Rosario, to take the lead 1-0.

Under a hot sun in a game riddled with injuries, Hills West struggled to get the ball to its forwards, as the Newfield defensive pressure was more than the team could handle.

With 11 minutes left in the first, senior forward Michelle Bartolo, a co-captain, set up the next score with a cross pass to Rosario, who chipped it in for the 2-0 advantage.

“It was a really good cross — a really good cross from Michelle,” Rosario said. “I just redirected it and it went in.”

Hassett said Bartolo was playing defense for the first time, and her senior captain did an amazing job in her defensive role.

Michelle Bartolo heads the ball for Newfield. Photo by Bill Landon
Michelle Bartolo heads the ball for Newfield. Photo by Bill Landon

“I was playing defense and there was a free ball so I crossed it in and [Rosario] kicked it in,” Bartolo said.

As time wound down in the final half, Newfield junior midfielder Kristen Prevosto, on a crossing pass, fed senior forward Cori Myers, who shot the ball into the corner of the net.

With their league opening loss to North Babylon in overtime, along with their blowout victory over Riverhead on Friday, the Wolverines improve to 2-1 overall. Newfield will take on Smithtown East next, in League III action at home on Thursday at 4 p.m.

Hassett said that the heavily favored North Babylon team was expected to easily outscore Newfield, but said her team held its own and took the game into overtime. The coach added that the win over Half Hollow Hills West was huge for her team, and said that other teams have taken notice.

“In years past other teams regarded Newfield as an easy win,” Hassett said. “And now, for the first time, other teams are talking about Newfield soccer.”