MAHOPAC, N.Y.— Mahopac girls soccer coach Casey Kondelka did not know what to expect from her team of mostly freshmen competing at the junior varsity level. Kondelka, who coached several of the same girls at the modified level during the previous season, was pleasantly surprised.
“They were so open and receptive to learning new things,” Kondelka said. “And they meshed very well as a team. It’s a good group of girls who want to become better. We got a lot accomplished in practice and they actually went out and implemented it.”
The JV Indians swept both the archrival Carmel Rams and Arlington Admirals in a banner year. They also defeated Ketcham twice and split a pair of matches with John Jay-East Fishkill.
“When we went to Arlington it was our first time we were really put under pressure,” Kondelka said. “I was impressed at how well they moved the ball and moved up with the competition. We have a very quick team. They are tiny but are super fast.”
Mahopac only fell at the hands of Somers, Suffern, and John Jay all season.
“John Jay was our first loss when we were away,” Kondelka said. “When we played them the second time they adjusted to our play and it was interesting to see at a JV level.”
Captains Olivia Conlin and Kathryn Kennedy guided the Indians, but this bunch was talented enough throughout that every girl played a part.
“Defensively, we had four very strong girls in back,” Kondelka said. “Freshman defenseman Jenna Daly can be moved anywhere. I see so much potential in her because she can see the field and has great foot skills.”
Freshman goalie Isabel Omboni was called up to the varsity team upon an injury to goalie Julia Mende late in the season. A balanced Mahopac team had few problems getting on the scoreboard as well.
“An offensive player who sticks out is freshman striker Grace DiVincenzo,” Kondelka said. “But this year more than any other year it’s hard to pick out players because our starting line is good and move the ball so well. There are even a few people who could come in off the bench and it was seamless. People were fighting for starting positions all year.”
‘Pac’s success on the field even went beyond soccer as this specific team definitely cooked up some chemistry.
“I am just very impressed with the way this team connected with one another,” Kondelka said. “Some of their goals you would step back and say wow. They are a good group of girls. Sometimes you get the players who are there just to play. But they did a lot of team bonding off the field and truly cared for one another.”
This season will certainly go down as a special one for not only the players but for coach Kondelka.
“I am excited to see how they do especially when they move up into the varsity level,” Kondelka said. “You are always upset when it’s over and I still have them (players) coming to stay after school with me just to say hello. It was a bonding experience more with this team than I have had in the past with other teams because I had such a good group of girls on and off the field.”