The Huntington High School varsity girls’ soccer team is a work in progress and it will remain one throughout much of the season. Why? Because there are so many new faces in the starting lineup and on the roster. Coaches John Walsh and Vincent Tannazzo need time to put all the pieces of the puzzle together.
The Blue Devils graduated a substantial chunk of their starting lineup last June. Huntington is set to field a rather young team, although it does have some experienced players at key positions.
Walsh and Tannazzo have been sideline partners for many years. Maria Canino is the junior varsity coach. All three are looking to put Huntington on a strong footing for the future. The trio was thrilled when 55 athletes turned out for the high school program last Monday morning. The first day of practice saw players hustling up and down the field and giving their best effort.
“We are really pleased with the work ethic of our players,” said Walsh, who serves as the varsity’s head coach. “Everyone is going hard and getting in peak condition. We are young at some positions, but we do have talent on the team.”
Three of Huntington’s most experienced players are seniors Paige Lennon and Alyssa Sorensen and junior Marissa Stafford. All are expected to play key roles for the Blue Devils “Everything is going great,” Sorensen said. “We play very well together and I’m excited for this season.”
The team opens at home against North Babylon on Wednesday (September 5) at 4 p.m. Between now and then the Blue Devils intend to make every minute of practice time count.
Walsh is experimenting with players at different positions and looking to come up with the best combination. The team feels good about season and there’s a positive vibe.
“It looks great,” Lennon said. “There’s so much talent and today we were scrimmaging and everyone worked together great; there was so much chemistry.”
Stafford is a superb all-around player and the Blue Devil will be counting on her to deliver this fall. “This week has been a great start to the season,” she said. “The team is really bonding and we are having a great time at practice. We also look good and I think we have a chance of making the playoffs again this year.”
Huntington will play games against North Babylon, Brentwood, Half Hollow Hills East, Sachem North, Centereach, Central Islip, Newfield, Smithtown East, Commack, Copiague, Northport, West Islip, Sachem East and Riverhead.
“I think our team has extreme potential and everyone is so excited for the season,” junior Riva Bergman said. “We should be able to pull out some big wins.”
Sophomore Jordan Forte is one of Huntington’s key offensive weapons. The teenager possesses the skills and speed to put the ball in the net.
“After the first week of practices everyone’s attitude towards this season was positive,” Forte said. “After graduating 14 seniors we didn’t know what to expect, but with several talented new faces it will make the adjustment easier. We are scheduled to play some of the top teams in Suffolk County, but with the athletes we have and everyone working hard we look forward to a successful season.”