PUTNAM VALLEY, N.Y.— The Lakeland girls soccer team finished strong with a 2-0 blanking of the North Salem Tigers on Monday, July 18, at Putnam Valley High School in the summer league consolation matchup.
“We have a chance of being strong offensively if we start clicking,” Lakeland coach Jon Hourahan said. “Defensively, we’re strong. We lost five seniors right down the spine and we are trying to recreate that spine. Any of our three keepers can go in and do well.”
Forward Julia Gomez knocked in a goal after the ball caromed sharply off the post from a previous shot, giving the third-seeded Hornets a 1-0 edge late in the first half.
“In the fall we have a huge chance of making it all the way,” Gomez said. “Our chemistry and skill is brought together so well that it shows in the end.”
Outside midfielder Jolie Duque headed in a pinpoint accurate lob-pass from Katherine Morneau to double Lakeland’s score in the second half.
“We all get along really well off the field,” Duque said. “So on the field it is even easier. We know how everyone runs and where you want to put the ball.”
Although the Hornets cruised to a win in their summer league finale, they failed to convert goals on several golden opportunities.
“Finishing is one of our priorities to work on,” Gomez said. “We always have skills to get there, and it is just getting the last touch is what we need to work on.”
Lakeland completed the summer league with a solid 3-2-1 record.
“We have younger players that have played,” Hourahan said. “But the summer league is to let them see what it is like at the next level. I like this because we get the whole group working together and eventually they will make it to varsity. At the beginning (of summer league), some of those kids are hesitant. But by the end, they are taking control and are confident.”
The fourth-seeded Tigers concluded the summer league with a 2-5 record.
“The girls were trying to listen to their coach,” North Salem assistant coach Amy Roma said. “I could see them stop and try to be smart about their plays. Possess the ball, to look up, and do the right thing. They weren’t trying to rush things. I do see that we have some up and coming players and some good skill set.”
North Salem is still trying to mesh together its younger players so that its team is on the same page.
“We’re going to have to work with the younger girls to create more of a unity,” senior goalie Lindsey McSweeney said. “I don’t think that the summer league reflects how we are going to be in the regular season. Coming into the season we are losing five starters that just graduated. A lot of what we are going to struggle with is making up for those gaps.”
Keeping possession of the ball has been another rough patch for the Tigers this summer.
“We need to work on our possession and first touch,” Allie Bratt said. “In practice, we need to dribble around more to get comfortable with the ball and just have it by our feet. A lot of our girls don’t play year-round.”