Lady Rockets looking to build on last season’s soccer success

By John Bernhardt
“The self-confidence of a person multiplies their powers a hundredfold.” Imagine the impact of author Robert Collier’s quote when it is applied across an entire soccer team. That seems to be the case this fall in Roxbury where the Rockets girls’ soccer team prepares for the 2010 campaign. The Rockets turned a corner last season reaching their highest competitive level in several years, and with several girls returning from that team, confidence and momentum are surging.

“Our girls are striving to be known as a competitive team,” emphasized third-year coach Lisa Faraci. “They are focused on building on last season’s beginning successes and reaching .500 to qualify for post-season play.”

Growing optimism
Six seniors, five returners, bolster a growing sense of optimism. Tara DiBenedetto returns in the goal, and Faraci is expecting good things from her keeper. “We’re looking for more leadership from Tara this fall,” noted Faraci, “Tara needs to be more vocal and more aggressive tending the nets than she has in the past.”

Faraci finds critical senior leadership on every line of the field. In her fourth season, Jenna Johnston should anchor the defense as a center back. Always steady and consistent, Johnson has a deep appreciation and understanding of the game. Johnston should get plenty of help building a defensive wall from another fourth-year returner, Paulina Cowan. Strong and fast with great endurance, Cowan is moving from the forward line to defense this season.

Strong endurance and foot skills make another fourth-year returner, Nevada Schuman a leader in the midfield. Another returning senior, Marina Eignor, will join Schuman in the midfield when she is not looking for goals on the forward line. Senior Raven Spraque returns to the game after a two-year absence and should add depth to the defense.

Junior Brittany Keator is slated to be the sweeper. Keator logged good time on the defensive end of the field last season, and Faraci notes she has returned stronger and faster this year. Another junior, Sydney Peters returns and will be seeing time in both the midfield and as a defensive back. “Sydney played a lot of midfield last season. She has good speed and has picked up her aggressiveness this year,” Faraci observed.

Two juniors, Angela Perazone and Alexi Boice are working out on the forward line. “Angela is strong. She has a good foot and is working hard,” praised the Roxbury coach.

Much of Roxbury’s success might depend on how fast a large contingent of sophomores develops. The future bodes well with eight sophomores forming the backbone of the roster. Kennedy Faraci leads the sophomore contingent and will return this season as the center mid. Faraci is strong and fast and led the team in assists as a freshman

Quick, strong, aggressive, and with solid foot skills, another sophomore returner, Cristina Chirappa should be a mainstay on the forward line. A knee injury shortened Bailey O’Donnell’s season last year, but the sophomore returns and is battling for a spot in the midfield.

Five sophomores move up from the modified for their first year of varsity play. Faraci was impressed with Rachael Beck’s performance in the midfield in the team’s recent scrimmage. Kendal Sprague is working as a back-up goalie and has natural ability as a defender. Small but mighty, Miranda Cross will add some spunk to the forward line. Marissa Greene is working in the pre-season on both the forward and midfield lines, and Samantha Sprague should provide defensive depth to the Rockets.

“The girls are working hard to play as a team and to be a team,” praised Faraci. “If we can improve our finishing stuff, we could have a solid season.” Faraci believes Ray Preston will have another solid team in Davenport and notes that South Kortright returns several natural athletes. According to the Roxbury coach, Margaretville, too, always fields a good team.

Roxbury hopes to have a positive start as they open their season tonight, Wednesday, facing the host team at 8:00 p.m. in Stamford’s Mayor’s Cup Tournament.