Finley-White girls' soccer put many skilled players on the field. (Darin Reed photo)

Finley Girls’ Soccer-White a Work in Progress

Finley-White girls' soccer put many skilled players on the field. (Darin Reed photo)

November 15 , 2022

The J. Taylor Finley Middle School girls’ soccer “white” team coached by Spanish teacher Alicia Furman was a work in progress throughout the fall season. The 20 player roster was captained by Aubrie Godin, Justina Hlenski and Gabriella LoScalzo.

Finley-White (the school’s two boys’ and two girls’ teams are designated “blue” and “white” in a nod to Huntington’s district colors) found itself short on forwards, but fielded an excellent group of midfielders and defenders.

The top players included seventh graders Alessandra Leotta, Angela Abbatiello, Cassidy Harris, Hanna Boyle and Dayana Portillo Hernandez and eighth graders Justina Hlenski, Aubrie Godin and Gabby LoScalzo.

Abbatiello (nine goals; three assists) and Leotta (three goals; eight assists) led the squad in offensive points.

“Justina Hlenski is a very good all-around player and can play any position on the soccer field,” Furman said. “She helped the team tremendously when playing defense. She even played in goal for the team in a few games.” The eighth grader tallied three goals and four assists.

Godin was a standout at midfield and stopper. “Aubrie is a hard worker and is fast, has a strong foot and made great crosses from the corner to create opportunities for us to score,” Furman said. The eighth grader also had three goals and four assists.

LoScalzo shined in goal for Finley. “Gabby seemed to enjoy ‘Goal and Go Home,’ something I introduced to them, which I learned from my high school coach Joe Comforto.”Furman said. “She made some amazing diving saves during games.”

Leotta played midfield and forward and quickly became a key player. “Alessandra has great dribbling skills and sees the field very well and this is why she led the team in assists this season.”

Abbatiello, a seventh grade defender/stopper and forward helped the team in immeasurable ways. “Angela displayed great hustle,” Furman said. “She’s a fast, skilled player who became our secret weapon when we needed an extra push forward.”

Harris was one of Finley’s top defenders and midfielders. “Cassidy has great hustle and is an all-around good player who gives it her all in every single practice and every single game,” Furman said. “She has the skill to play in any position and always stepped up and played where she was needed at the time, thus displaying her commitment to the team.”

Boyle was still another top defender. “Hanna hustles and is fast and skillful and able to steal the ball away from the opposition,” Furman said. “I am proud that she felt confident to move forward in a late season game and scored her first goal.”

Portillo Hernandez never played on a soccer team prior to year, but she “worked hard to become our one and only true forward.” Furman said. “She improved her skills and ended the season with four goals.”

Although the squad compiled a 4-5-1 record, the team’s players displayed real potential to help the Blue Devil high school program down the road.

“I feel that the team as a whole improved their individual skills and really tried to help each other on and off the field. especially since there were about seven novice players on our team,” Furman said.

This team was special. For example, goalie Gabby LoScalzo scored her first career goal in a game dominated by Finley-White. “Although, other players could have scored, they opted to pass it to Gabby until she scored,” Furman said. “It was great to see how they came together as a team.”

The eighth graders on the team were thrilled to tie nearby rival Oldfield in double overtime, 1-1. “They said they were always shut out by them in past years,” Furman said.

“Overall, the team worked very hard to overcome the fact that we did not have forwards,” Furman said. “I loved the fact that the midfielders stepped up and would take a shot from outside 18 yards. I am happy to say we score six goals in total that way! ‘Goal and Go Home’ at the end of each practice was a hit for all of us. Remember: Shoot from outside the box, even it goes OTT (over the top ).”

On the way to and from away games the team sang songs on the bus much to the delight of their coach.

There are 12 players current seventh graders that are eligible to return to the field next fall as eighth graders. “I look forward to working with them next fall to continue to build their skills on the soccer field and instilling in them good sportsmanship,” Furman said. “Along with the seventh graders that I mentioned earlier, Violetta Fox and Deisy Dominguez have the heart and drive to help build the Huntington girls’ soccer program.”