The Huntington girls’ soccer team took the field this week for the opening practices of the season and hopes are running high among players that the Blue Devils will be highly competitive.
Huntington is coached by John Walsh and Vincent Tannazzo. The team turned in a 5-8-1 mark last fall. The Blue Devils will scrimmage at John H. Glenn on September 3 and then open the season at home against Riverhead on September 6. Games will follow against Copiague, Smithtown East, Walt Whitman, Patchogue-Medford, East Islip, Brentwood, Bay Shore, Central Islip, Newfield, West Islip, Comsewogue, Bellport and Longwood.
Huntington girls' soccer head coach John Walsh. (Mike Connell photo.)
The Huntington varsity squad returns sophomores Katie Browne, Teddi Carnesi, Makaylah Frazier, Edelyn Garcia and Emily Plachta; juniors Jordan Forte, Charlotte Maggio and Julia Steinberg; and seniors Lena Annunziata, Riva Bergman, Beanna Cumella, Alexandra Gerbavsits, Caroline Hartough, Marissa Stafford and Jennifer Zeron-Salmeron. Junior Ainsley Lumpe has also returned to the fold after sitting out last year to participate in an academy soccer team program. She was All-Conference in goal as a freshman.
Stafford garnered All-County honors last fall after leading Huntington in scoring. Carnesi was named All-League on the strength of a spectacular freshman campaign.
“I’m super excited for this season,” Stafford said. “It’s going to be so much fun. I think we have a ton of potential since we have such much individual skill and gel so well as a team on the field. I can’t wait for it to begin.”
Physically strong and exceptionally competitive, Carnesi is a warrior at heart and is rapidly becoming one of Suffolk’s best players.
“This year, I expect us to have a really good shot at competing with all of the teams that we play, as we have gotten better at working as a team,” Carnesi said. “I am looking forward to having competitive, cheerful and strong teammates playing by my side. I believe we have a very bright and fun season ahead of us. We have a bunch of considerably strong senior leaders this year and I think they will make this season very progressive for everyone.”
Forte is expected to give the Blue Devils some scoring punch. “I am excited for this season because we have a group of girls that are all so close and willing to work hard,” she said. “Everyone is hoping to compete with the top teams in Suffolk and qualify for the playoffs.”
Huntington usually plays low scoring games with a premium placed on its defense, including its goalie. However, this year the team has several players capable of scoring from anywhere on the field.
“We have so much potential with underclassmen coming up to the varsity,” said Bergman, who specializes in defense. “I can’t wait to see where the season takes us. The year is going to be filled with fun and excitement and I’m ready.”
The speedy Browne is one of Huntington’s key players, with assignments on both offense and defense. She can score, set up teammates to score and stop opponents from scoring.
“I can’t wait for the season,” Browne said. “I’m expecting great things and for the team to do very well. We have the talent and ability to go far this year.”
Gerbavsits is still another of Huntington’s most important players and the senior is hoping her final year in a Blue Devil uniform is her best one yet. “I’m so excited for this year,” she said. “Our team has a lot of skill and potential. With the kids we have coming out to play, I think we are going to have a successful season.”
Just how far can Huntington go this season? “We are a very tightknit group of girls that are extremely dedicated to making this season a successful one,” Annunziata said. “We’re only a few days in and the excitement surrounding this season is overwhelming. I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for us.”
Huntington has two experienced coaches on the sidelines working with the team in Walsh and Tannazzo.
The team’s longtime head coach, Walsh has been a Huntington physical education teacher since September 1994. A graduate of East Islip High School, he earned an undergraduate degree at SUNY Brockport and a master’s degree at Stony Brook University. He has coached boys’ volleyball on the middle school and high school levels and varsity girls’ soccer and softball. He is also a CPR and First Aid trainer.
This is Tannazzo’s ninth season as the Blue Devils’ assistant coach. He’s been a full-time member of Huntington UFSD’s faculty since September 2003, teaching math at J. Taylor Finley Middle School. He is also coaches in the high school girls’ lacrosse program.
A graduate of Syosset High School, Tannazzo earned bachelor and master degrees at Long Island University-CW Post College. He studied business on the undergraduate level before earning a graduate degree in secondary math education when his attention turned toward classroom teaching.