The goal for the Cardozo girls soccer team is clear: PSAL championship or bust.
Expectations are high, and understandably so. The Judges return all but one starter from last years team that went 18-1-1 and have three of the top players in the city in defenders Carolyn Durniak, Diana Thomas and midfielder Patricia Sotirakis.
It has to be the goal, said Cardozo coach Rich Parascos, whose team lost in the semifinals two straight years and was seeded No. 1 entering last years playoffs. Were going to be good, the question is how good?
Also back for Cardozo is Jeannette Couture and Lisa Prasso, who will split time in goal, midfielders Larissa DeMelo and Nikki Tzimas as well as Tara Martin and Vivian James.
Cardozos stiffest competition in Queens may again come from Townsend Harris, which returns most of its players from last year.
Leading the charge is senior midfielder Jaclyn Miccio, who has drawn interest from Division I schools including Syracuse and Boston University.
Also back for the Hawks, who were 11-4-2 last year and lost to McKee/Staten Island Tech in the first round of the playoffs, are speedy forwards Kathryn Dubowski and Maria Paschalidis as well as seniors Andi Strauss and Patricia Babio.
Were definitely not a deep team but we have a pretty decent starting lineup thats relatively mature, said Townsend Harris coach Chris Hackney.
Francis Lewis is a team that may challenge the perennial powerhouses this year for borough supremacy.
The Patriots are stacked, especially in the offensive department with junior midfielder Caroline Verna, freshman forward Jessica Molina and sophomore midfielder Angela Wooley. And theyre not too shabby defensively either with senior keeper Nesime Bal and senior sweeper Vanessa Molina (no relation to Jessica Molina).
I think well fare pretty well on the pitch. As long as were healthy and eligible, we should be alright, said Lewis coach Roger Sarmuksnis, whose team went 8-6-2 and lost to Midwood in the first round of the playoffs last year. We have a good club with some experience. Just their knowledge of the game is a huge plus.
Bryant finished third in Queens A last year before losing to Beacon in the first round of the playoffs but the Owls are without several key cogs from last years team, including defender Melissa Lam (Queens College) and Viviana Andino as well as striker Cristin Alfonso Zea, who scored 12 goals as freshman but moved to Long Island.
Back for Bryant, though, are seven starters including senior defender Eleni Petropoulos, junior midfielders Stavroula Giannoukakis, Lindsey Molina and Eliana Ortega and sophomore forward Kathy Drizis.
The strength is probably our defense, said Bryant coach Ralph Montanaro. Were a notch below last year. We have no superstars.
With only one senior on its roster, Bayside, the only team to tie Cardozo (2-2 on May 14) last year, promises to be a team on the rise.
Returning are co-captains Felicia Burnbury and Kristin Allocco the lone senior. Also back are junior central defender Vanessa Dalessandro, sophomore midfielder Chelsea Johnson and junior midfielder Stacy Corenzwit.
Newcomers Adrianna Giandans and Tina Berardi, a pair of junior defenders, and sophomore midfielders Sandy Lopez and Ashley Spellman also show promise in the preseason.
We have a lot of young girls and its going to take some time for them to learn the system, said Bayside coach Joe Corrado. But its promising.
It may sound strange to put the words rookie coach and Howie Ranzer in the same sentence, but after 24 years of patroling the sidelines for the Newtown boys soccer team, Ranzer will coach the girls team for the first time this year.
Its very different, said Ranzer, who has 365 wins as a boys coach. But its a lot of fun. The girls are nice.
Leading the returners for the Pioneers are senior Alba Carrasquero, one of the top strikers in the city, junior striker/midfielder Paola Moncado, sophomore striker/midfielder Paola Medina, senior winger Soledad Barroza and junior sweeper Astrid Portillo.
Flushing, Richmond Hill and John Adams make a move up to the A division after successful stints in the B.
The Red Devils will do it with a new coach as Manny Singh makes his coaching debut this year.
If we win thats great, but the main thing is going to learn how to communicate with each other, said Singh, a recent Hunter College graduate. I just want them to have a good time and do their best on the field.
Returning for Flushing, which went 10-1-5 and lost to Midwood in the inaugural Brooklyn/Queens B championship, are senior forward Michelle Lopez, senior midfielder Natalie Bravo and junior defender Kilara Soltanoff.
Hector Navarette, who played for the now-defunct Tampa Bay Mutiny of Major League Soccer, will coach the girls team at John Adams after returning to his alma mater to coach the boys team in the fall.
Navarette takes over for Marc Wilson, a reservist who was sent to the Middle East for the war in Iraq.
Its my first year actually coaching girls and its a brand new experience, said Navarette, who is hoping to play for the Long Island Rough Riders of the Pro Select League in the United Soccer Leagues. Theyre nervous and excited [about playing in the A division] but I tell them to just worry about themselves.
Back for John Adams, which finished 13-2-1 last year, are midfielder Maura Torres and defenders Kate Raffo and Leydi Escobar.
Ephraim Ramnarine returns much of his scoring punch from last year, as seniors Angie Lozano, Mayra Delgado and Pamela Castano are among eight starters back from a Richmond Hill team scored 34 goals in 16 games.
The girls are very excited and are looking forward to the challenge, Ramnarine said of moving up to the A division. We want to be competitive, of course we want to win and wed love to make the playoffs.
Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 143.
©2003 Community News Group
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