Freshmen Keep Scoring For Southampton

Alexandria Woods battles a Smithtown Christian player for possession of a loose ball. Independent/Desirée Keegan
Alexandria Woods battles a Smithtown Christian player for possession of a loose ball. Independent/Desirée Keegan

Southampton’s fearless freshmen may be foreshadowing a bright future for the next four years. And Carli Cameron is leading the way.

The young striker scored two goals and an assist to lead the Mariners to a 3-0 shutout of Smithtown Christian (0-5) September 21. Freshman outside midfielder Taylor Zukosky also found the back of the net in the win.

Cameron was first to light up the scoreboard on a cross from freshman Gabrielle Avallone at the 27-minute mark. She rocketed her shot front and center past a diving Sofia Cantarero (eight saves).

“I was ready to take a touch,” Cameron said. “I didn’t even care if I missed it. My goal was to just shoot it as hard as I could. And I made it past her.”

After taking more shots in the second half, she scored from left goal side with 1:52 left in the game to give it its final score.

Carli Cameron (two goals) grabs a pass. Independent/Desirée Keegan

“We were trying to control the ball and take as many touches as we could, just keep shooting, because that was the way we were going to win,” Cameron said. “A lot of our crosses were amazing and we had some beautiful control, especially in the second half.”

Coming off a 5-1 loss to undefeated Babylon (6-0) a day prior, Zukosky said communication was key. She, too, received a cross pass at the top of the box for her goal that gave Southampton (4-2 overall, 3-2 in Division II) a 2-0 lead at halftime.

“We needed to establish who was going to get the ball, who we’re passing it to,” she said. “We also needed to work on controlling the ball — making a great leading pass but being able to keep the ball on the ground.”

Southampton boasts just one bench player, so head coach Rossely Nava said she’s been impressed by her girls maintaining their energy and keeping their spirits high. Especially through back-to-back games.

“We can’t believe it,” she said. “That loss to Babylon was a tough game. We’re a young team trying to do our best and are finally getting some wins.”

A little winning can lift any team, but it does even more than that for the Mariners, which went 0-13 in 2017. The win over Smithtown Christian is Southampton’s second shutout of the season. The team blanked East Hampton 2-0 September 12.

“We’ve created this chemistry,” Cameron said. “Everyone gets a piece of the ball and we’re working beautifully together. This is great for our team and our school.”

Nava, who said most of the freshmen have been playing together for nearly seven years on a travel team, said she sees her team being unstoppable in the near future. Especially with players like Cameron and Zukosky.

“Carli, she’s a beast — we love the way she plays,” the head coach said. “She’s strong. She never gets tired. She’s always on the field trying to find the ball. And Taylor is doing great. We’ve tried to condition her to kick from far because she has a beautiful touch.”

Southampton traveled to Pierson/Bridgehampton (1-5) September 24, but results were not available by press time. Also on Friday, Nidia Bravo, and Asha Hokanson each had one goal and one assist to lead East Hampton (1-3 in Division II) to a 4-0 shutout of the Whalers, despite Pierson goalkeeper Katie Kneeland making 15 saves. After starting off Division II play with three losses, Westhampton Beach is finding its rhythm. The Hurricanes topped visiting Mount Sinai 4-2 Friday for their third straight win. Trinity Velenzuela had a goal and an assist to lead Westhampton, which saw four other girls get on the scoresheet, and Jade Merrell stopped 13 shots.

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