Coming off a 15-3 season in 2018, the BOYS’ SOCCER team has its sights set on a sectional Class B crown this fall.
Unable to duplicate their win total from the previous season, the 2019 Panthers were still one of the better teams in Class B, losing in the quarterfinals, 1-0, to Bronxville, and ending the season with a 12-6-0 record.
While their 2019 record was not as gaudy as the previous fall, their play was still splendid.
Head coach Eric Petrone lost six players to graduation last June, including Alex Sydor, one of the top players in the Rivertowns, as well as Jason Shapiro, Noah Guo, Eamon Dillon, Omer DelGenio, and Alexander Batska.
Petrone heads into this season feeling confident about his team’s chances.
“We are blessed to have a number of returning starters this year,” the coach said. “Vincenzo Spiniello is a senior and he is back for a third year as our starting keeper. [Juniors] Pierce Dillon and Felipe Remon are in top form after playing club all summer. They are returning starters playing center-defensive midfield.”
Also returning are senior outside-back Eddie Santos, a four-year starter, and junior midfielder Issei Nakamura. “Both players pose an attacking/midfield threat,” the coach said.
Attacking midfielders Luca Fuente, a senior and three-year starter, and senior Alec Levi also appear to be in top form. “They are hungry to win the ball and score,” Petrone said.
Meanwhile, senior midfielder Aidan Muldoon is back for his third year on the varsity, while, at forward, seniors Robert Watson and David Hay are goal-scoring threats.
Junior Matthew Cardoso, a newcomer at center back, is expected to make an impact.
“Our strength, obviously, lies in the number of returning starters we will field,” Petrone said. “We couldn’t be more happy to compete against some of the section’s best. Leveling up to Class A, we’ll play Byram Hills, Hastings, and Horace Greeley. So, as long as we stay fit, the sky is the limit for our 2020 campaign.”
The future of this fall’s CROSS-COUNTRY season is still in flux as girls’ head coach Henry Leone and first-year boys’ head coach Rafael Gomez prepare their squads.
“Not sure how the meets will run yet, but I hear no more than four teams,” Leone said. “League competition only — and 12 athletes max per team/gender will be allowed to compete. That may keep many athletes from competing at all this season.”
He continued, “The issue of running with the masks is another problem. I know there is no data showing you get less oxygen running with them, but it sure feels like it and is very uncomfortable — especially in hot weather. A few kids have already quit due to this, but safety is most important.”
The top returning boys for Ardsley are seniors Sean Hurley, Scott Azrider, Sean Nagahama, and Masoud Nabi. The girls will be led by juniors Anish Kumar and Sia Mose, as well as freshman Kim Maggio. Mina Morcelo, a freshman, may also impact the girls’ team as she moves up from modified to varsity.
“We have a great attitude,” Leone said. “Our teams have always had such a great vibe that makes it a pleasure to coach and be part of this team. Second, we have numbers — we have bigger teams than usual and we hope to find some strong runners in this group.”
He added, “We are navigating new waters and hope to maintain excellent safety. We also hope the athletes will find much enjoyment in this season.”
Frist-year GIRLS’ TENNIS coach Bennett Romney has been impressed with his team through the first week of practice.
Junior Jocelyn Hung is expected to play first singles, with senior Sydney Faber slotted right behind her. In doubles, the top tandem will be seniors Nicole Griff and Taylor Meiskin. Expect newcomers Lauren Wong, a freshman, and sophomore Nina Gellman to find a spot in the lineup.
“I think we will have a nice blend of returning veterans and talented new players,” Romney said. “Looking over at the ninth-graders at our first practice, I was impressed by their athleticism. With other girls’ sports not playing this fall, I think we got some really nice athletes to come out for tennis.”
Head coach P.J. Larkin’s girl’s soccer team entered last season coming off a 2-12-2 record. However he was confident the Panthers would make strides in 2019 after relying on underclassmen in 2018.
The young veterans played as well as he expected, including newcomers Brooke Lonergan and Daniela Spiniello, both freshmen midfielders, and eighth-grade forward Leah Rifas.
The result was an 11-6-1 season that ended in the Class B quarterfinals with a penalty kick shootout loss to Blind Brook. Prior to that loss, the Panthers won their first league championship since 2013.
Leading up to this fall, Larkin lost only Emma Closter, Brina Confino-Pinzon, Sarah Fishkin, and Julia Bollinger to graduation
“We have 15 returning players from last season,” Larkin said.
On defense, seniors Jaime Rubino, Emily Fitzsimmons, and Kaleigh Silverstein, along with junior Izzy Fatato will play in front of keeper Emily Reece, a senior.
At midfield, Rifas returns for her freshman season, along with junior Aoife Reid, senior Ali Bloom, senior Sofia Rivera, junior Caley Navins, sophomore Nicole Lawrence, and, back for her sophomore campaign, Spiniello.
Up front, Larkin is leaning on junior Christina Fatato, Lonergan, now a sophomore, and sophomore Lily Moskowitz.
Newcomer Sofia Finnerty, a freshman, is expected to make an impact this autumn after playing Academy soccer the past several seasons.
“We have a lot of players that have given us significant minutes over the last two seasons,” Larkin said. “We want to be competitive in each game in a very difficult league. It is a big jump from Class B to A and we can hopefully have a positive transition — 10 games in four weeks is going to fly by.”