Even in somewhat of a down year for Queens, there were plenty of impressive performances on an individual and team level.
Francis Lewis made it all the way to the PSAL Class A semifinals for the first time and Flushing won its first ‘B’ title. Both teams had a strong freshmen influence as well.
Traditional powerhouses Bayside and Cardozo had uneven years for various reasons and Arts & Business, despite displaying promise, was shocked in the second round of the playoffs by Canarsie.
Still, it was a fine season for the Q-boro.
QUEENS GIRLS’ SOCCER PLAYER OF THE YEAR
F Despina Psomopoulos, Bayside
This wasn’t a vintage year for Psomopoulos, better known as “Blue,” on the soccer field. Injuries, notably a badly sprained ankle, hampered her almost the entire season. The Albany-bound senior nevertheless pressed on and was still one of the most dangerous players in the city with the ball at her feet. There was, after all, a reason why she won the PSAL Wingate Award.
Psomopoulos, who led Bayside to its best stretch ever, including three semifinals berths and a finals appearance, had 12 goals and four assists in just nine regular-season games. In two playoff games, she had three goals and two assists.
QUEENS GIRLS’ SOCCER COACH OF THE YEAR
Roger Sarmuksnis, Francis Lewis
Sarmuksnis had taken the Patriots boys’ soccer team to new heights, including semifinals and finals appearances the last two seasons. But the girls were mired in mediocrity, hovering around the .500 mark the past few years. Not this season, though. An influx of talented freshmen was all Sarmuksnis needed to make Francis Lewis a PSAL Class A city championship contender.
With seven freshmen on the roster, the Patriots advanced to their first semifinals and actually scored first in the second half on a goal by Karin Backert. But Beacon equalized soon after and the Blue Demons, the eventual PSAL runners-up, would go on to win in penalty kicks. Lewis has a bright future; Sarmuksnis just won’t be able to see it through. He’ll stay with his boys’ team when the season switches to the fall.
ALL-QUEENS FIRST TEAM
GK Nicole Carroll, Bayside
The talent level at Bayside had fallen off since its trip to the PSAL Class A final in 2007, meaning Carroll would only be challenged increasingly more. She was certainly up for it. The Concordia-bound keeper emerged as one of the best in the city the last two seasons. This year was her best. With stars Despina Psomopoulos and Chelsea Cabarcas struggling with injuries all season, Carroll kept Bayside afloat.
D Jessie Diamond, Francis Lewis
Diamond didn’t score a boatload of goals or receive the fawning headlines, but she was one of the biggest reasons behind Francis Lewis’ resurgence. The senior sweeper was never flashy, just consistently excellent. She made freshman goalkeeper Julia Bernhardt’s life extremely easy.
F Ingrid Diosa, Francis Lewis
Diosa had nine goals her entire career before this season. All she was missing was people to get her the ball in good spots. This year, she showed off that scoring touch. Diosa exploded for 15 goals and was at the forefront of everything Lewis did offensively as it made a run to the PSAL Class A semifinals.
M Anca Dogarescu, Bayside
With the absence of star midfielder Chelsea Cabarcas for a chunk of the season, Dogarescu emerged. She became Bayside’s best midfielder and playmaker, hooking up with striker Despina Psomopoulos on multiple occasions. Dogarescu had 10 assists and nine goals in 12 regular-season games and had a goal and an assist in two playoff contests.
M Creshana Jones, Cardozo
The sophomore was just burgeoning with raw talent. Jones has the size, speed and athleticism to evolve into one of the top players in the PSAL the next few seasons. She had 10 goals and an assist in 11 regular-season games and scored once in the postseason.
F Jessica Figueroa, Arts & Business
Figueroa is absolutely explosive and incredibly dangerous with the ball at her feet. She’s a threat to find the net every time she touches the ball. The senior had 17 goals and five assists in 12 regular-season games. She and Stephanie Rivas were the biggest factors in Arts & Business becoming a PSAL title contender.
F Melissa Lijo, Flushing
It’s hard for ‘B’ players to rub elbows with their ‘A’ brethren on these lists, but it was impossible to keep Lijo off our first team. She was simply one of the best freshmen in the city, regardless of her team’s classification. Lijo had an eye-popping 24 goals and 23 assists in 13 regular-season games. In the postseason, she had eight goals and six assists in four games, helping Flushing win its first Class B title.
D Sara Lijo, Flushing
As integral as her twin sister, Melissa, was to Flushing’s offense, Lijo might have been even more important for the team. She was the Red Devils’ stopper — and almost nothing got by her en route to Flushing’s first Class B title. Lijo had eight assists and six goals in the regular season and a pair of assists and a goal in the playoffs.
M Joanna Quintero, Long Island City
Quintero was Long Island City’s offense this season. The four-year varsity player, who was around back when LIC won the PSAL Class B title in 2006, had nine goals and seven assists in 12 regular-season games. Quintero helped lead the Bulldogs to a 7-4-1 record and a playoff berth, their first since moving up to the ‘A’ league.
M Stephanie Rivas, Arts & Business
She was simply an immovable object in the midfield. Big and strong with an incredible leg, Rivas won just about every 50-50 ball and was the Bulls’ heart and soul. The senior had 17 goals and 13 assists and emerged this season as one of the top players, not just in Queens, but the entire city. Coach Keith Horan will miss her next season.
F Lorena Russi, Townsend Harris
Speed, speed and more speed. The track star was all but impossible to keep up with when she was going full bore. With Mariella Romano, the team’s heart and soul for four years, playing at Fordham, Russi kept Townsend Harris above water. She had 17 goals and eight assists in 12 regular-season games. If that weren’t enough, Russi scored twice in the first round of the playoffs before Cardozo came back to win in the waning minutes.
ALL-QUEENS HONORABLE MENTION
M Karin Backert, Francis Lewis
GK Michelle Berbery, Flushing
M Chelsea Cabarcas, Bayside
M Nazarine Caraccioli, Forest Hills
M Cathelle Carrillo, Francis Lewis
M Melissa Cordoba, Arts & Business
M Ebelyse Guaranda, Cardozo
D Gena Koutsounadis, Francis Lewis
F Kamilah Lamhaouar, Townsend Harris
F Katlyn Merino, Cardozo
F Bridgitte McCalla, Edison
F Courtney O’Buckley, Cardozo
F Paola Ramos, Cardozo
M Laura Rueda, Bayside
GK Johana Vargas, Arts & Business
©2009 Community News Group
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