MAHOPAC, N.Y. - Last year’s Mahopac girls varsity soccer team exceeded expectations, upsetting top-seeded Horace Greeley in the quarterfinals before falling to Suffern in the semifinal.

Luckily for the Indians, they are returning every starter with the exception of left wing Katie Yurish. Their younger yet experienced roster is now familiar with the taste of the playoffs and is poised to play in this season’s Section 1 Class AA final.

“We were talking and if we don’t get to the section finals it’s going to be a disappointment with this group,” Mahopac coach Ross Fumusa said. “It’s another year of experience for the girls. We look stronger, we look healthier. We’re expecting a lot out of this team.”

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Defensive midfielder Kaylee Mattos, a senior, will be called upon to pester the opponent’s offensive rhythm.

“Kaylee Mattos is going to be big in marking up our opponent’s attacking forwards or midfielders,” Fumusa said. “She’ll be the mark on their best offensive player.” 

Junior Zina McInerney is also back on defense and expected to make some big plays. Another junior in Emma Goodrow, who was sidelined in 2016 after tearing her ACL, is ready for her chance on defense too.

Ellen Walpole played midfield last season, but will take over on the defensive side of the ball in 2017.

Mahopac’s top defender last year in junior Katrina Klammer has been switched from sweeper to the midfield position because of her great speed.

Similar to Klammer, junior Samantha Colatruglio should serve as a gnat to opposing midfielders in disruption of ball flow.

Forward Carly Steinberg made her presence felt in her first varsity season as a freshman, as the striker will lead an Indian offense that foresees to score an abundance of goals this season.

Morgan Kirby is now a senior and prepared to kick it up a notch alongside fellow senior forward Ailis Martin, who recently committed to play soccer at Rider University in 2018.

As for a newcomer who can make a splash right away, sophomore forward Grace DiVincenzo is a name that Indian fans will get to know.

Returning senior goalie Julia Mende is ready for a breakout year while junior Isabella Omboni is going to back her up. Omboni, who was called up from JV last season after both of Mahopac’s goalies went down with injuries, did a marvelous job in the cage.

Mahopac has its work cut out for it, as the schedule is one of the toughest in the section. One of those teams that the Indians count the days until meeting is Class AA rival Arlington, who won the state championship last year.

Rival Carmel will pay a visit of course as well as powerhouse Horace Greeley.

“We don’t have any easy games where we can just get by,” Fumusa said. “Every game is hard and will be a battle. Carmel will be a good game. They have gotten better over the years.”

The rough slate begins right away, since the Indians open up at North Rockland on Wednesday, Sept. 6, at 4:30 p.m. 

“We’re going to be more balanced than last year,” Fumusa said. “Our possession is going to be drastically improved and we’re going to score more goals than last year. From what I see now, we are pretty solid all-around.”