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PSAL girls soccer preview: Queens teams ready for new season

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In his first year as the school’s boys soccer coach, Joe Corrado led Bayside to an undefeated season and the PSAL 'B' division title in the fall. Corrado is set to begin his first season of girls soccer after replacing his former Commodores coach Jerry Pannell on the bench for both teams. But Corrado’s presence doesn’t automatically make the girls a contender for the city crown.

“There’s definitely enough with this team where I feel we can make a nice run in the playoffs,” Corrado said. “They’re working hard. Hopefully it will click somewhere down the line.”

Bayside, which finished last year with an 11-4-1 record and lost in the PSAL quarterfinals to Stuyvesant, lost two of its top players in midfielder, Heather Lawson (Queens College) and forward Hazel Alvarado (CCNY). But Corrado is confident senior forward Carolina Wesso, along with senior captains Elizabeth Guerra, a center midfielder, sweeper Irene Guizado and center midfielder Jeanna Plersch, as well as newcomer Emily Andricosky, can help fill the void.

Bayside edged out Townsend Harris for the Queens I crown by penalty kicks last year, but the Hawks return a wealth of talent, including sophomore center midfielder/striker Jaclyn Miccio, who is one of the top players in the borough. Also back for Chris Hackney’s squad are senior forward Talya Oberfield and senior midfielder Rosemary Ferraro.

Roger Sarmuksnis is another new face in Queens I, as the former Molloy junior varsity coach took over for Larry Diamond at Francis Lewis. Leading the charge for the first-year coach are co-captains Karine Zuma, a senior stopper/center midfielder and sophomore center forward Jessica Dipardo. Sarmuksnis has also been impressed with the grit of sophomore center midfielder Vanessa Molina, who he calls, “the toughest kid I think I’ve seen on the soccer field,” and sophomore left midfielder Julie Xie.

“The main thing I address is hard work,” Sarmuksnis said. “And it really shows in their hustle back on defense. Everything else can be taught.”

Hillcrest second-year coach Matt Strong is hoping a strong crop of freshman can lift the Hawks over the .500 mark and into the playoffs.

“We should be able to control the ball better than in the past,” Strong said. “We want to be able to take advantage of our speedy forwards.”

Leading the youth movement for Hillcrest is freshman midfielder Juliana Lucena, who is expected to be among four starting freshmen on the field for the Hawks. Seniors Christine Vincent up front, defender Shirley Stiven and right wing Nadine Edmond should also be key contributors.

Flushing (5-7-5) and Beach Channel (0-9-3) round out the division.

Forest Hills is one of the teams in the spotlight this season in Queens II this year. Returning for Bob Sprance’s Rangers are senior forward Ana Borges, who led the team in scoring last season with 38 goals, and junior forward Stefany Feliciano, who finished last season with 22 goals. Newcomers who should bolster the Rangers lineup are midfielder Katherine Shea and defender Diane Atligic. They finished last season with a record of 16-2-3 and made it to the playoffs for a sixth straight year.

“We can put the ball in the net, but we have an untested new defense,” Sprance said.

Newtown should offer major competition in this division. Last season the Pioneers made quarterfinals and look just as likely to replicate that feat in 2001. Strong players for Pioneers are junior midfielders Abena Osei, Alba Carrasquero and Angelica Martinez.

Losing powerhouse Margaret Goclowska, who carried the team most of last season, may hinder the Pioneers slightly, but they are still a talented force and serious contender.

As for Ralph Montanaro’s Bryant Owls, the outlook is positive. Already defeating Flushing in an exhibition game, the senior-laden Owls showed they mean business.

“We held our own against a tough team,” Montanaro said. “Our defense is strong, I would probably say the best in the league.”

Those expected to lead the team are co-captains Melissa Lan and Viviana Andino, goalkeeper Angelica Soria and transfer forward Siria Jones. The main player is speedy senior attacker Claudia Arias.

Mark Wilson has a different goal this season for his team. The John Adams Spartans finished their first season with an 8-5-1 record and are focused on doing better than .500, the coach said. With 13 new players, Wilson considers this a rebuilding season.

Returning for John Adams are five seniors, including midfielder Jaclyn Francine, forward Marga-Lisa Yee and goalkeeper Katharine Alvarado.

The Richmond Hill Lions (7-7-3) round out the division.

With one official PSAL season under their belts, Queens III teams ready themselves for another round of hard work.

The front-runners are definitely the Cardozo Judges, who won the division crown last year and advanced to the PSAL quarterfinals and finished 17-1-2. Leading Rich Parascos’ squad is senior midfielder Kelly Kaso and senior stopper Sunny Tsang.

Elizabeth Schuellein in her first year as coach of Newcomers and she has a wealth of talent, including junior Laura Burlacu, senior Zadika Cantillo and freshmen Jaclyn Egas and Johanna Perez. Junior Ying Ying Jiang and Ilham Jaoui bolster a strong defensive corp.

“This year we have a nice set of girls — talented and full of heart,” Schellein said. “Combining everything, we should fair well. We hope to make the playoffs.”

Other contenders are the athletic, but less experienced Jamaica Beavers, led this season by its head coach Eric Chasnoff. The Beavers finished with a 7-3-1 record and return senior midfielder Claudia Galeno, senior striker Ana Morel, junior midfielder Jesse Cerna and junior sweeper Susanette Grant.

The Van Buren VeeBees are the veterans of the division and they try not to dwell on a disappointing last season, but rather look ahead with optimism. Rebuilding this year with mostly freshmen and sophomores, the VeeBees look promising. The few remaining members from last season who will provide the backbone for Greg Fishman’s squad are captain Marisa Arriaga and midfielder Raquel Toc, as well as co-captain Rachel Klutse defending. Fresh faces include Trudy-Ann Haynes in goal and forwards Marilyn Bran and Jennifer Ortiz, who Fishman said he hopes will “form the heart of a new team.”

Campus Magnet, Franklin K. Lane and Arts and Business round out the division.

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