The Girls Soccer Team is back and better than ever!
Last season, Girls Soccer was underwhelmed with their team’s success. They finished 4-9 in League 4, only winning two consecutive games once throughout the season. The team struggled throughout the year, enduring a rough four-game losing streak. Ultimately, they finished towards the bottom of their league. Sophomore Jordyn Levy, a goal-scoring stud, admitted, “we didn’t really reach our full potential on the field and that’s why we ended the season with a losing record.” This season, however, the Hills West Girls Varsity Soccer team is ready to change the narrative and turn the program around.
As last season drew to a close, it was announced that the team would be going in a different direction in regards to their coaching staff. And so, the school made a change, naming Erika Verderber the Head Coach and Kelly Madden the Assistant Coach. Coach Verderber is a science teacher here at West and is married to the illustrious boy’s soccer coach, Coach Doug Gannon. Coach Madden is an English teacher in the school, and the sister-in-law of varsity football coach, Kyle Madden. It’s clear that athletic success runs in the family!
Both coaches have previous experience coaching the girls soccer team. Coach Verderber was the assistant varsity coach from 2000-2006 and was the varsity head coach of the first all-Hills-West female soccer team. Previously, the team had been combined with High School East, but in 2007 they disbanded and the two schools fielded their own teams. Coach Madden was the varsity assistant coach in 2000 and the Junior Varsity head coach from 2001-2004. When asked why she stopped coaching and what made her return, Coach Madden responded, “the primary reason I stopped coaching was that I had children. I came back because Verderber got a little bit of the itch and said I want to go back, but I’ll only go back if we go back as a team together…. and here we are.” She believes that the team has performed “extremely well together” and that the girls work ethic should lead them to “the championship they deserve.”
There has already been positive feedback from fans and players about the incredible job the staff has done thus far. Lindsay Wright, senior Captian, said, “We have already shown great improvement from last year. We are all very grateful to have Verderber and Madden as our new coaches. They’ve brought a new mindset to the team and are constantly pushing us to be better in order to win big games. They have ultimately changed the atmosphere of our team in such a positive way.”
Levy agreed, “The coaching changes from last year caused a huge shift in the way we play. This year, our practices highlight our team’s weaknesses and the new coaches keep us working hard every game. They have a lot of knowledge on the game of soccer since they were former soccer players in college.
Once the season began, the girls quickly went to work. The girls won their first 5 league games, only allowing 2 goals during that stretch. Throughout that run, the girls beat Amityville, John Glenn, Center Moriches, Hampton Bays, and Southhampton and scored a total of 28 goals. They won games by an average of 6.8 goals and completely dominated the league. Star players include: Carly Bloom and Jordyn Levy dominating on the offensive side of the ball, Lindsay Wright and Olivia Mesorole controlling the pace nicely in the middle, and Amanda Rooney and Madilyn Agbim building a steady wall on the back end.
Senior Captain Olivia Meserole said, “right now we’re 7-1 and already have more wins this season than last. The competition hasn’t been the best yet, but in games where the competition was better, such as the game against John Glenn, we were able to step it up and win.” Levy added, “we’ve had a lot of success in the past games, and if we keep the same energy and work ethic, I believe we have a good chance to make the playoffs.”
After the impressive five-game start, the girls suffered their first loss of the season to Bayport-Blue Point. They were defeated 2-1 in a hard-fought battle, but were able to respond a few days later, beating Smithtown Christian 6-1. In its most recent game, the team beat Westhampton 6-0 and improved to 7-1 on the young season with a lot more soccer to play before the playoffs.
Although the team has already gotten off to an outstanding start, Wright wants the girls to keep working. She said, “We are a very talented team that can probably outplay any team we face. But, there is still a lot we need to work on in order to go far in the playoffs which is our goal.” The girls still have 8 games left and will continue to strive for a playoff spot.
With new coaches and the impressive start, the underclassmen praised the senior leaders. When asked about what the seniors have meant to her, Levy responded, “With new girls on the team this year, the senior captains did a great job in introducing them to the system. They put together pasta parties, team bonding activities and more. They keep us focused and motivated.” According to the players, this has translated directly to the team working well together on the field.
As a captain, Wright understands her role and tries to enforce the idea that the team must “train hard, even when no one is watching” and engage in team-first soccer where everyone plays for one another. Wright acknowledged the extraordinary work the underclassmen have done and said, “they are a big part of the team and work really hard. They are a big part of our team and are very understanding of the fact that it is the last season for many of us seniors. We need the underclassmen in order to be successful this season”. Likewise, Meserole believes that it is “really important to be a leader on and off the field because since we have more years on the team, the younger players look to us for guidance.”
The team’s next game is today at Kings Park @ 6:30 under the lights. The team will look to continue its recent success, hopefully carrying it deeper into the season. Zoe Lattuca, a junior on the team added, “It has truly been an amazing season so far and we’re looking forward to a deep playoff run.” We could see these girls contending for a championship title!