ARMONK – After a great debut, the inevitable question is, ‘What are you going to do for an encore?”
That’s the question second-year Byram Hills girls soccer coach Mike Martino faces after guiding the Bobcats to their first state regional win.
Martino refrained from mentioning another possible state run. But, with his players doing 18 consecutive runs from the near to the far 18-yard line on the school’s turf field Tuesday (or as many as they could last), it was apparent he’s serious about giving his team the best chance to do just that.
Senior goalie Emma Giardina figures Martino, who formerly coached at Blind Brook, was the program’s missing ingredient.
Carly Barnett and her team work out during the Byram Hills High School girls soccer practice Aug. 19, 2014.
“We had the talent. We needed someone to guide us,” she said.
Which Martino did — all the way to a 20-2 record. Byram Hills’ best season concluded with a 1-0 regional-final loss to Goshen.
“It was no surprise,” Martino said of the record. “They really did a fantastic job living up to what people were expecting them to achieve.”
The bar is now at least as high.
Junior Carly Barnett, last year’s 22-goal/14-assist center-mid/forward wunderkind, is back. So are Jessica Kennett, Rachel Pollack and Remi Godner, who add strength to the middle.
Then there’s 22-goal/16-assist Nicole Hoffman, who’s currently out with a leg injury but who’s expected back.
And, of course, there’s Giardina, who posted eight shutouts.
Regardless of whether Martino vocalizes it, his players see advancing past the regional final as their mission.
“We have kind of unfinished business,” Barnett said.