Friday, 25 November 2011 00:00
From the start of this year’s season, the Friends Academy Field Hockey team has had just one goal – to win the sought-after Long Island Championship. Bested four years in a row, the Quakers cannot only check off that accomplishment, but now look to a new goal – the State Championships.
In early fall, the road to the NY State Championship seemed like a long one as this Cinderella team logged its slowest start in years with a 0-5 record. “The girls knew that with hard work, patience and determination, things would turn around,” said Coach Christine Botti.
The Quakers authoritatively captured their first win at the Friends Academy Fall Fair, 7-0 and that win would ignite a spark that led to a 7-game winning streak.
On Sunday, Nov. 6, the Quakers won their seventh consecutive Nassau County Class C Championship, soundly defeating Carle Place 4-0. One week later, a charged team ran the field down against Babylon HS and captured their first Long Island Championship with a score of 5-1.
“The team was very positive, excited and ready to win,” said Coach Botti of her players heading into the LI Championship. Senior and co-captain Erica Sklar (Oyster Bay Cove) scored three goals, senior Savannah Febesh (Carle Place) contributed four points (two goals and two assists) and sophomore Emily Mara (Rockville Center) aided with an assist.
Goalie and sophomore Charlotte Gelfand (Old Brookville) anchored the defense, allowing only one goal while recording an astonishing 12 saves, including one on a penalty stroke. Co-captains and seniors Erin Gluck (Little Neck) and Jalisa Clark (Glen Cove) rounded out the team leadership and were named to the Long Island All-Tournament team.
The Quakers headed to Syracuse on Saturday, Nov. 19 to face Greenwich HS at 7 p.m. in the New York State Semi Finals.
The Friends Academy Girls Varsity Soccer team is making history – and having a lot of fun while doing it. On Saturday, Nov. 12, the undefeated 11-0-1 team punched past Seward High School, 2-0 to capture the Regional Finals and qualify for the State Semi-Finals in SUNY-Cortland.
“We had a very good game plan and dominated the field,” said Coach Gail Baker. “While we struggled to put the ball in the net at the beginning, we had an explosive play from sophomore Kasey Katz (Sands Point) five minutes into the second half.” Katz scored the first goal, followed quickly by junior Heather Maierle’s (Wantagh) penalty kick to seal the game. Friends lost to Seward last year 2-1 in the Regional finals, so this marked the accomplishment of a very special goal. “This is a game we wanted to have back,” said Baker.
For this team, togetherness has been at the core of their season. “The talent is there and the skill, but it’s the piece that each girl contributes… it’s the togetherness,” explained Coach Baker. “You see a confident team that believes in each other.”
Team play underscores one of the Quakers’ most strategic assets – their passing game. “They know where everyone is,” said Coach Baker. And it’s a fact that has not gone unnoticed by outside coaches. “ ‘They play with a lot of class and they’re really skilled.’ That’s what I hear other coaches say,” added Baker.
Finishing the season with an undefeated record is one that Coach Baker does not take lightly. “We faced the most competition from Cold Spring Harbor and Carle Place. They really tested us. When we were down against Carle Place in an away game and really inclement weather, these girls showed a lot of fortitude. They discovered that in any adverse situation they could find a way to come back,” said Baker.
“The pieces are falling in together,” finished Coach Baker. “I always knew the potential was there with this group. They know I believe and – they believe in themselves.”