Steve Sabo’s been around the game of soccer long enough to know it is going to click for his North Tonawanda varsity girls soccer team, it is just a matter of when.
“We’re in our second year of rebuilding after graduating a strong core,” said Sabo, now in his 16th year at NT and 14th with the girls varsity. “We went from the sectional finals to last year starting eight kids who were eighth- and ninth-graders. I’m continually watching them grow to where they’ll be competitive for a full 80 minutes.”
Sabo said his squad will find consistency this year, it’s just a matter of maturation after a tough 2011. Also be sure that a down year for Sabo still included more than a handful of wins and an overtime loss in the Section VI quarterfinals.
He’ll be starting an undisclosed rookie at outside back and Samantha Hanes will take over running the center mid. If the name is unfamiliar, it’s because she’s an eighth-grader.
“She’s one of the first players who has the poise to run center mid since one of our best,” said Sabo, referring to Amber Smyth, who went on to star at the University of Hartford.
The Lady Jacks find their strength with their center backs: Emily Slominski and Lauren Testa.
— Nick Mendola
Coach Julie Schork is putting a very young team on the pitch for 2012 and is countering her small number of seniors by making an unusual request of her juniors.
“We’re just looking for the girls to treat these next two seasons as two senior years,” Schork said.
Playing with that sort of emotion will drive the Lady Warriors, who are lead by returning goal-compiler and three-year starter Kalyn Compeau.
The team is also looking to score for charity by hosting a breast cancer survivor night on Oct. 1 when the team hosts Eden. They are inviting the families who’ve been affected by the disease in both programs to be saluted at 6:30 p.m. between the JV and varsity games.