The Girls’ Varsity Soccer Team was seeded 2nd in the city after going undefeated in their division with a 12-0 record. Their dedication brought them to another two wins in the first round of playoffs and quarterfinals.
The patriots started their season with a home-opener against Forest Hills High School, in which they took a 5-0 win. In their regular season, the Lady Patriots were only scored on three times, in a total of 2 games.
“I believe this year’s team showed a great amount of improvement and worked well together and just had the chemistry and drive that the previous season teams struggled with,” Coach Sotiriou said. “They were determined and worked so hard to get the #2 seed and make it to the semifinals.”
This season, the Lady Patriot’s 12-0 winning streak came to an end in a semifinal playoff game against Brooklyn Tech. In the second overtime, Brooklyn Tech scored on a penalty kick, earning them a 1-0 victory.
“In my opinion, the toughest game for the team has to be the semifinal game against Brooklyn Tech,” senior Lesly Ruiz said. “Brooklyn Tech had some great players and I can’t lie, they were pretty challenging as a whole.”
Their hard work is shown through their record and performance, but their dedication is shown in the off-season as well. Many of the players play recreational soccer, though there are some differences between the two.
“High school soccer is more competitive,” senior Captain Annalie Guzzo said. “The season is shorter and gives you a small amount of time to prove yourself as a player. Also, in high school soccer you see your teammates everyday and you are able to form tight relationships with each other.”
Not only is there a different standard for playing high school soccer, but there’s a different dynamic that the players have to adjust to.
“Some of the major differences would definitely be commitment,” junior Co-Captain Alyssa Cabral said, who led the team and division with 19 assists. “We practice everyday so commitment is a big part of it and if you’re not at practice the day before a game you don’t start. You have to make up anything you missed from practice.”
Relationships within the team form easily and often, but there are still challenges regarding the chemistry between new-comers and returning players.
“Every season it is definitely hard in the beginning because you have a new team every year,” Cabral explained. “The team will not always click the way it normally will in [previous] years, so it’s a matter of getting to know your players and learning which player is fast, which player can touch the ball and has a good touch, which player has a good shot, which player can shoot from outside the box.”
Just like any other team, the introduction of new players is not always easy, but returning players made the transition smoother.
“The team, during practices and games, always gave me advice and tips on skills I needed to work on,” freshman Vasilia Maniotis said. “I constantly look up to the upperclassmen and their confidence when they’re playing, and they know how to raise my confidence too. Having a group of girls constantly giving me advice and building up my confidence was a great experience.”
Undoubtedly, there is encouragement and support from the returning players on the team, but it is rooted from the support of their coach.
“Something important to me that I always try to instill into my players is that we are a family with a lot of heart,” Coach Sotiriou said. “Their teammates are their sisters and they will always have their back. As long as they play with heart, have good sportsmanship and give it their all, that is all that matters.”
Despite the challenges, the team has had tremendous success this season as well as in past seasons.
“The most defining moment for me as a coach was when we won the City Championship for the first time in school history, and being only the second Queens team to ever win this title,” Coach Sotiriou said, who has been coaching the Francis Lewis Soccer team for 5 years. “It is an amazing accomplishment that I am very proud of.”
The Lady Patriot soccer team fought hard this season, earning wins against their whole division, along with wins in playoffs against Townsend Harris and Bronx Science. The loss the girls experienced this season is not a set-back, but a motivation to come back stronger in the 2020-2021 season.
“I am so proud of each and every one of these girls, and so honored to be their coach,” Coach Sotiriou expressed in a post she shared on their team Instagram page. “They have been so determined, focused, and hardworking all season long and deserved more! I promise next season we will be back in that championship game.”