MAHOPAC, N.Y.— Mahopac’s girls soccer program took a step backward since reaching the Class AA section final in 2014. The Indians were eliminated in the first round of the Section 1 Class AA playoffs by powerhouse North Rockland in a 2015 campaign riddled with injuries.

“It was a very down year for us,” Mahopac coach Ross Fumusa said. “We were just off. It started out with the injuries and we just didn’t have success. We just use it as a learning experience for the younger girls and hopefully that will carry on to this year so that we can get back on track.”

The Indians return 11 seniors in their quest for a turnaround year. Midfielders Taylor Ganis, Jessica Mastropietro and Olivia Homolac plan to guide the team more efficiently. Both Ganis and Mastropietro missed time last season due to injuries.

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“They have been through the success,” Fumusa said. “We went to the section finals when they were sophomores and last year they saw how we were down. We’re looking for them to bring the leadership back.”

One top contributor who the Indians missed last year is junior forward Morgan Kirby. Kirby was forced to sit out all of 2015 after tearing her ACL during the offseason. The star player led the team in possessions during her freshman season.

“We have a lot of talent coming up,” Fumusa said. “Last year we had three freshmen on the team, so this year we have some experience. Playing against juniors and seniors, they did a pretty good job. It’s going to be a good mix of girls that have been in the program for a while and girls that are new to varsity.” 

Mahopac will field seniors Kayleigh Miller and Krista Pearl as forwards along with Kirby and sophomore Samantha Colatruglio in what will need to be a team effort in order to turn last year’s tide.

“I am willing to push myself to help my team succeed and make this year count,” Ganis said. “I think we’re all ready to move forward from last year and make this season count.”

Fumusa, who enters his ninth season as Mahopac head coach, also expects great things from junior midfielder Ailis Martin. Martin’s specialty is controlling the ball and making possessions longer for the Indians.

“One thing that we are trying to get back is our possession game,” Fumusa said. “We prided ourselves on that two years ago when we got to the section finals. It’s one-two-three touch, and get rid of the ball. Last year we went away from that. We want possessions with quick touches.” 

Mahopac will foster a younger defense with sophomore sweeper Katrina Klammer expected to lead that crew. Since former goalie Daniella Cimadomo graduated, the goalie position is up for grabs between Cimadomo’s former backup in senior Tylar Revenson and Julia Mende, who was the JV goalie last year.

“With many defenders hurt last year it gave Katrina Klammer an opportunity to step up and be a key part of our defense,” Mastropietro said. “I am sure that we will all see the same drive from her in the years to come.”

Fumusa also predicts two defenders who were called up from JV last season to make immediate impacts this year in sophomore Emma Goodrow and junior Caroline Raymond. They should be a part of a team that clicks together more in 2016.

“Team chemistry is the biggest thing to work on right off the bat,” Fumusa said. “They are going to have to do some things off the field like team bonding. That’s one thing that we are going to stress right away because getting closer off the field will help them be closer on the field.”

Last season’s disappointment may motivate Mahopac to fight even harder if they hit a rough patch this season.

“The key to success is never giving up,” Homolac said. “Even if you go down a goal or lose a game, the most important part is bouncing back and focusing on the next half or game. If the team’s mind is in the right place, success will come.”