Passionate crowds roar as an intense soccer game ensues. First off, Center Brett Robinson of Carey High School takes a long swing of her foot twenty yards from the net miraculously scoring thus tying the game. Only four minutes pass when Junior Forward Allison Bustamante on the same team passes the ball to towering 6 foot tall Senior Mid/Forward Kelly Flanagan who then head butts it in the goal thus winning the game.
These are just the few moments of what a season it has been for the Carey High School Varsity Girls Soccer team in Franklin Square, NY. And that was just last Tuesday on October 7, 2014 in a grueling and intense win against Great South Neck with a 4 to 3 final score.
With a 9-1 overall and 6-1 AB-IV Conference record, Carey is an unstoppable force. Both Coach Lola Intagliata and the players of the team have a vision unlike any this year of being the first Conference Champions for Carey Girls Soccer team and to get as far as they can in the playoffs as they have never gone passed the first round.
“They’re the first team to ever have been so focused,” 55-year-old Intagliata proudly stated.
This year, Intagliata is confident in her team’s success because of their camaraderie, commitment to the game, skill, training, years of playing and sportsmanship. Half of them play together on travel soccer while the rest play elsewhere. Soccer is more than just a sport for these girls, it’s their life.
“They arrive on time for practice at 3:15 pm everyday ready to go with all their cleats and chin guards on,” the coach explained.
The coach prepares her team in practice with intensive passing drills on both offense and defense. The Carey Seahawks do not rely on the end result, but support each other throughout the process of the game. They have three of the toughest games coming up that will determine their standing in the playoffs and their conference; Roslyn, Carle Place and Wheatley. If they win the last four games in the season they have a huge shot at being the Conference leaders thus earning them a higher seed in the playoffs.
Intagliata is intently molding goalie and eighth grader Gabriella DiVito into a superstar. DiVito was discovered during the early part of this season when the girl’s soccer team lacked a goal tenant. Flanagan was covering the net in the meantime, but was taken out due to her inexperience. DiVito who came off of JV to play on Varsity is well beyond her years. DiVito has shown she is comfortable at the pace of Varsity level and according to MSG Varsity, has already made 41 saves thus far.
Such other players have shined this year like Senior Captain Francesca Cozza who controls the defense and is the reason why the team is so effective. Another Senior Captain, Mid Defender Patricia Curtin is well on her way of being qualified for entering the State Championship Finals. And According to Newsday, two of Intagliata’s players reside on the ‘Scoring Leaders’ list, such as Bustamante at number two with 15 goals and 1 assist and Junior Forward Mackenzie Nyitray at number 19 with seven goals and four assists.
The team also gains a lot of inspiration from each other. Intagliata explained that both Bustamante and Curtin rehabilitated their injuries from being out last season. Bustamante tore her Anterior Cruciate Ligament or ACL and meniscuses while Curtin dislocated her ankle and fractured her femur bone in January. Regardless, they pushed forward and came back with fire.
“If they can play with pain and they can play coming back from injuries, it’s what really inspires the team a lot,” Intagliata added.
Carey Girls Soccer team also demonstrates stellar sportsmanship. In the last game against Great South Neck, the coach described how Nyitray was taken to the penalty box twice without showing any disrespect towards the opponent or referee.
“They just play the game,” the coach reiterated.
Intagliata who has been coaching for 15 years only got to play in an amateur soccer league one year at college. Growing up, there was no girl’s soccer team on the High School or College levels. In those days, she explains, girls were not viewed favorably in soccer as it was “predominantly a male sport.”
That did not stop her though, with the inspiration from her children playing soccer and her father being a former FIFA referee, she pursued that passion. She started coaching her children’s little league soccer teams until she went and received the A, B, C and D licenses. Eventually, she got the National Coaching License and became the first female coach in the Franklin Square Raiders Program.
The coach prides herself on a team that is athletically and academically sound. Intagliata sees all of them making it to college ball someday and has listened to their ploys for intelligent careers. The soccer players want to become everything from editorialists, to graphic designers, physical therapists and sports psychologists. Curtin wants to learn how to engineer prosthetics at Union University, Cozza wants to be an attorney and apply to Michigan University while Flanagan wants to join the Marine Corp.
There are four games left in the season for Carey to prove themselves as Conference Champions and tough opponents in the playoffs. Wheatley who was the one team they lost to all season currently leads their conference by one score. There next game is away on Friday October 10, 2014 at 4:30 pm against Roslyn.
“Each year the team teaches me something new about the girls, this year I keep going back to the word ‘focus’,” Intagliata said confidently as she leads her girls onto the field.