Nothing pleases a coach more than an athlete who is prepared. Prepared to listen, prepared to learn, and prepared with a skill set commensurate to their age. Running a close second is a team that gets out to a fast start with a winning record. Combine both of these scenarios and you have the 2004 Mineola Girls Varsity Soccer team.
At press time, the girls varsity soccer team sits atop the Conference VII standings with a 5-0-1 record. Here's how they did it:
Opening at home versus Glen Cove HS, the Lady Mustangs saw themselves fall behind in the first minute as GC scored to take a 1-0 lead. The balance of the half saw the teams trade goals as Allie Kain and Liz Sanderleaf each scored to bring Mineola back even as the half ended with the score tied 2-2. Each team opened the second half with an emphasis on defense. With only nine minutes left in the period Christine Medlock scored the go-ahead goal on a rebound of her shot, set up by a pass from Liz Sanderleaf. Jess Antonison led the defense along with Gigi Alas' eight saves in goal.
Looking to build on their home opener win, the Lady Mustangs faced Westbury HS. Dominating the game from the first few minutes, Mineola quickly took a 3 -0 first-half lead on goals by Nicole Peralta, Katie Carter and Christine Medlock. The second half saw Gigi Alas come out of goal to play midfield and score two goals to give the Lady Mustangs a dominating 5-0 win.
Taking their game on the road to Locust Valley HS, the Lady Mustangs once again dominated the field of play. Liz Sanderleaf scored two first-half goals along with goals from Katie Carter, Marisa Jetter and Kristen Bubelis to move Mineola out to a 5-0 lead at the half. The second half saw the Lady Mustangs ease up on the pedal as not to run up the score. Such was Mineola's offensive and defensive domination that while Locust Valley's goal made 31 saves, Mineola's goalie needed to make only 6.
Coming back to Mineola HS, the Lady Mustangs faced Freeport HS. Playing against their toughest opponent to date, Mineola took a 1-0 lead on a goal by Katie Carter 31 minutes into the first half. Freeport answered with a goal of their own to tie the score 1-1 at the half. With both teams turning up the intensity a notch in the second half, Marisa Jetter put Mineola ahead 2-1 off Kristen Bubelis' centering pass at the twenty seven minute mark. Looking to salvage at least a tie, Freeport came storming back to pressure Mineola's defense. With less than one minute left, and Freeport forwards swarming around the goal, Gigi Alas made her final save of the game. With Alas' save leaving her out of position, Jenn Port blocked and cleared Freeport's final shot off the rebound with her body to preserve the win as time expired.
With their record standing at 4 wins - 0 losses, the Lady Mustangs traveled to Great Neck North HS. Getting off to a fast start, the Lady Mustangs took a 1-0 lead in the first period on a goal by Katie Carter. The second period saw Mineola score three unanswered goals to put Great Neck North away 4-0. Second period goals were scored by Nicole Peralta (off a corner kick by Katie Carter), Jess Antonison from just outside the 18 yard line, and Liz Sanderleaf, off a pass from Katie Steen. Gigi Alas needed to make only seven saves as Mineola's defense dominated their zone.
Continuing their road trip, the Lady Mustangs next traveled north to Roslyn HS looking to extend their winning streak to six. Having played and beaten each team in their conference, the Lady Mustangs knew that Rosyln would present them with their strongest challenge of the season. True to the hype, Roslyn did not disappoint. Keeping Mineola off balance for the first 80 minutes of playing time, Roslyn's defense held the Lady Mustangs at bay offensively while testing Mineola's defense with a strong offensive showing. With the score at 0 - 0 at the end of regulation time, the teams prepared to play two-five minute overtime periods. With neither team gaining an advantage, the second overtime period came to an end with the teams tied 0 - 0.
Having played half their schedule without a loss, the Lady Mustangs will once again face their conference rivals in the second half. No doubt these teams will be looking to knock off the conference leader when they meet. The Lady Mustangs will need to continue with their game plan which has served them well thus far and to be prepared to step up their intensity to finish strong in their conference and make a playoff run.