Can Lady Dolphins Make Leap To Soccer Title?
On a rainy day on May 6, 2005, a special occurrence happened for the first time in fourteen years for the Beach Channel Dolphins girls soccer team. A 5-1 victory over Campus Magnet that day clinched their first playoff berth in a long time. Though they lost 2-1 to A.P. Randolph in the first round, the emotional high that came from that season has transferred to this season.
Winning also brought out interest from within the school and the Beach Channel 27 girl roster is one of the largest in the city. The roster is also littered with talent and the Dolphins may emerge as the favorite to not only clinch their second consecutive playoff berth but a Queens BIII division title.
They're off to a 3-0 start and can win with plenty of offense as they demonstrated in a 4-1 opening day win over Springfield Gardens. The Dolphins can also play stifling defense and time goals in their next two wins.
In consecutive 1-0 wins over Richmond Hill and Beach Channel, Catherine Kroog and Paule H Geffrard scored second half game winning goals. Geffrard has scored three goals this season.
William Neylon, the head coach of the Far Rockaway Lady Seahorses soccer team, had planned at the beginning of the school year to replace a few cogs from his Queens BIII division championship team.
With striker Troy-Ann Bailey and goalkeeper departing, Neylon would have to replace those important players. As the season began though, he had to just about reconstruct the entire team.
Ten players had departed by the first day of practice so after a quick scramble to find replacements, the Seahorses had enough to field a team.
Considering that the Seahorses field only 11 players, which is enough to out a team out to the field, they haven't started badly in winning one game and two ties to start the season.
It has been an adjustment for Neylon to get his team to jell with four returning players and seven new starters. He just didn't know it was going to be this hard. In January, Neylon had to adjust to three starters- Daysi Santos, Krissia Castaneda and Norma Flores depart due to graduation.
"Last year they were juniors," Neylon said. "I didn't know they were going to graduate at that point but they had all the required credits."
Five more players had transferred to other schools Far Rockaway went through a major academic reorganization last summer or were academically ineligible.
Neylon is still in the process of putting together his team but he does have four players who were the foundation of a 2004-05 division title team.
Senior Fayon Malcolm is a four year player who serves as the most experienced player on the team. She will be needed to provide scoring and leadership. Her versatility
Shickon Asfall starts the year as a goalkeeper and it may be a temporary shift. In a road game against Richmond Hill last Monday, she implored Neylon to switch her out of the net in the second half as her team was down 1-0. With 40 seconds left remaining in the game, Asfall, who moved to forward, knocked in the game tying goal and gave the Seahorses a valuable point on the road.
The nine days between the Richmond Hill game and the April 12 home game against Beach Channel should be valuable practice time. Neylon will incorporate a few more hopefuls into the lineup and teach the same values as he's done for the past few years.
"I heard this saying from my tai-chi teacher that attacking insures victory but defense insures invincibility. You got to have that balance between offense and defense," Neylon says.
I'm optimistic we're going to put things together. The kids are enjoying the experience so far."