Mike Zacchio here posting on behalf of Nancy. I stopped by North Rockland, Clarkstown South and Albertus Magnus today. Since my North Rockland piece will be in tomorrow’s paper, I’ll let Nancy post the extended version (more quotes) here once it’s on Lohud.com. In the meantime, here is my story from Albertus Magnus. I will embed my interview with Tim Gavan and some practice footage later. I don’t know how many girls soccer games I’ll get to this year, but if you like volleyball and/or funny people, follow me on Twitter at @Zacchio_LoHud.
BARDONIA — Scattered across the soccer field at Albertus Magnus High School were several new faces to the Falcons program. Not being a soccer reporter, almost all the faces were unfamiliar to me. All but one.
Freshman Danielle LaRochelle stood among the crowd, making official what many have speculated since the end of the basketball season in the winter — her transfer from Nyack.
I had heard rumors in March that the lanky point guard and striker would take her talents to Albertus Magnus for high school, but was unable to confirm the information. While she likely won’t start for the Falcons this year on the pitch, coach Tim Gavan said that she is a part of a promising freshman class.
“She has a little bit of experience, coming into the program already,” Gavan said after the team’s morning practice on Tuesday. “There’s two other freshman who we’re going to take a good long look at, who we like who might have to step in right away and take over a pretty big role.”
The Falcons graduated eight players from last year’s section-finalist roster, including six starters. Some of the team’s veterans expect this year to be a rebuilding one, but with a lot of potential.
“I think we have a lot of new people and fresh faces, so it will be good,” said senior defenseman Katie O’Connell, who enters her fourth year on the varsity, who expects the team to focus on the center of the field. “We kind of got gutted from the goalie to our forwards, so I think (the focus) is going to be strengthening the middle of the field all season.”
After back-to-back appearances in the section finals, junior Carly Clinton said that returning to the championship would be nice, but that there are other ways to make a season successful.
“We reached two section finals and lost both of them; we definitely would love to get back there,” Clinton said. “I think just having a great season after losing all these seniors would be a great start, then a great playoff run just to finish (my high school career).”
Gavan said that sophomore Kaitlyn Kreider will come up from junior varsity to take over the starting goalkeeper role and that he is confident in the team’s defense. “We’re pretty set up top,” he said. “If we can just figure out the midfield and see who’s going to be the one distributing to our strikers and our wingers, I think we’ll be OK.”