Finley-Blue fielded a well-balanced girls' soccer team. (Darin Reed photo.)

Finley-Blue Girls’ Soccer Finishes at 7-3

Finley-Blue fielded a well-balanced girls' soccer team. (Darin Reed photo.)

November 30 , 2022

The J. Taylor Finley Middle School “blue” girls’ soccer team compiled a 7-3 mark this past fall. The 18 player squad outscored their ten opponents by a margin of 43-23.

Coached by Huntington High School physical education teacher Shea Scully, Finley-Blue was captained by was led by forwards Madyn Kalb and Julia Hotine; midfields Liz Zivkovic and Emma Barch; center Katherine (Bella) Duke; stopper Dakota Respass and defender Melanie Rodriguez. (The school’s two boys’ and two girls’ teams are designated “blue” and “white” in a nod to Huntington’s district colors.)

“Madyn is such a multifaceted athlete, whose ability to place the ball goes unmatched,” Scully said. “She was such a huge part of our team’s success this year by filling many different positions and succeeding equally well in each. I am very excited to see the impact Madyn will have on Huntington athletics in upcoming years.

Hotine was another standout. “Julia is an extremely skilled soccer player,” Scully said. “Her ability to manipulate opposing defenders is impressive, to say the least. She was a huge part of our offensive line this season.”

Zivkovic is another “very determined” soccer player. “Lia will stop at nothing to get the ball up the field in order to create opportunities for us to score,” Scully said. “She has a great view of the field and precise touches that enabled us to capitalize on those opportunities.”

Barch excelled at midfield. “Emma has an innate ability to push the ball up the sideline quickly and efficiently, not only creating many opportunities for herself to score, but also her teammates. She has great ball control, which makes her an important asset to our midfield.”

Duke embraced her role as Finley-Blue’s center. “Bella was able to control the center of the field as well as feed the ball to our offensive line,” Scully said. “She has a very strong kick, which she used to help us clear the ball up the field and feed our forwards. She is such a bubbly person who really set the tone for our practices and games.”

Respass was durable at stopper. “Dakota is one tough cookie,” Scully said. “She welcomes any challenge that comes barreling down the field and stops them in their tracks. She is very calm under pressure, which makes her a smart and gritty defender.”

Rodriguez was a speedy and aggressive defender. “She uses tiny precise touches to get around the competition and places the ball perfectly up the sideline to the midfield/forwards, creating many scoring opportunities,” Scully said.

Five of Finley-Blue’s seven wins came by a margin of two or more goals. “From the beginning of the season the team just clicked,” Scully said. “They worked so well with one another on and off the field. It was a pleasure watching the girls not only grow individually, but most importantly as a team throughout the season.”

Scully believes the current seventh graders on the team are “very strong and talented” and capable of helping to lead Finley to new heights next fall.

“Our goal as a program is to continue to create a space for young girls to develop their soccer skills and grow as athletes,” Scully said.