SOMERS, N.Y.— In its first meeting during the regular season against Lakeland, Somers was without senior captains Claire Mensi and Amanda Brugger, but the Tuskers were still able to pull out a win.
In the opening round of sectionals, the two teams met again, and Somers was without Mensi again due to a required official visit with Bucknell University, where she will be playing next year.
That didn’t deter the fourth-seeded Tuskers as they cruised to a 6-0 win over Lakeland in the Class A opening round on Saturday, Oct. 21.
“We knew that we could do this, but Lakeland’s gotten a lot better since the beginning of the year,” said Somers coach Paul Saia, whose team defeated Lakeland 3-0 and 2-0 during the regular season. “I thought they played a lot tougher the last time we played them (compared to the first time). It’s tough once you get down a couple of goals and the clock starts ticking. We put a lot of pressure on them.”
Sarah DiRubbo, who netted two goals, said the team received a ‘good luck’ text from Mensi before the game.
“We clearly did what she wanted us to do,” DiRubbo said.
DiRubbo, who comes off the bench and is dubbed by Saia as a “sniper,” started the scoring spree when she booted home a goal after a Noelle DeMarinis shot was delected in front of the net with 17:41 left in the first half.
Less than three minutes later, Brugger sent a picture-perfect through ball to DiRubbo, who took a few dribbles and slotted the ball in the right corner.
“I called for it to go through and Amanda sent me a really nice ball behind the defense,” said DiRubbo, who added that her goal as a sub is to work harder than everyone else on the field to prove herself. “I was able to beat the last line and poke it in.”
The Tuskers knew they had the Hornets on their heels after going up 2-0.
“Once we put that second goal in, [Lakeland] kind of shut down,” Brugger said. “We knew we had the momentum. Usually getting the first goal gives us the most problems. Then we got a little more comfortable and they put their heads down a little bit. We just knew we had it.”
Somers padded the lead early in the second half when Danielle Cuchiarella sent in a free kick which Lakeland goalie Stephanie Shaloub got a hand on, but it bounced right to DeMarinis, who put it home to make it 3-0.
A few minutes later, Dahlia Pepe sent in a corner, which Alex Pittman headed home. Jessica Rodriguez then crossed the ball to Pittman, who scored her second goal to make it 5-0 Tuskers with 26:43 to play.
Mia Klayman capped off the scoring when she scored with Pepe getting another assist on the corner.
“I was pretty pleased with how we played as a team,” Saia said. “Everybody contributed and everybody played. It was a great team effort.”
Pepe and DeMarinis, both freshman, have made a significant impact for the Tuskers after a slow start early in the season.
“In Somers soccer, everyone plays club, everyone loves soccer,” Brugger said. “With the two freshmen, at first they were a little shaky and then they got comfortable. It’s been awesome ever since.”
Lauren Jockimo made three saves for a Tusker defense which recorded yet another shutout.
“It was a great defensive team effort,” Saia said. “We don’t say, ‘Oh, this is the defense and this is the offense.’ Everybody plays defense. We have to play defense as a team.”
The Tuskers (12-4-1) were scheduled to host fifth-seeded Tappan Zee in the quarterfinals on Oct. 25.
“If we play with heart and desire, we can go as far as that will take us,” Brugger said. “We have the talent. We’re such a family which has helped us so much this year. We all love each other and are always trying to pick each other up.”