After struggling to score in its first four games, the Huntington High School girls’ soccer team’s offensive has started firing on all cylinders. The Blue Devils are riding a three game winning streak after topping host Eastport-South Manor on Monday afternoon, 3-1.
Huntington opened a 3-0 first half lead on goals by Samantha Lynch, Katie Reilly and Katy Laurie. “I think the team is really starting to connect offensively,” Reilly said. “Toward the beginning of the season we struggled to put the ball in the back of the net, but I think it’s because we just needed to get a few games under our belt. The team is thrilled to have three wins in a row. We hope to maintain this streak and take one game at a time.”
Lynch put Huntington on the scoreboard against ESM when she scored on a header off a corner kick by Katie Nugent. Reilly scored the second goal off a pass from Laurie. The Blue Devils’ third goal came on a free kick by Laurie.
“The team has been working really hard during practice and it’s really showing in our games,” said Laurie, who plays center midfield. “The defense and midfield are really strong this year, which is giving the offense more scoring opportunities. Everyone is really excited about where the team is headed this year.”
Huntington opened the season with two ties, a 1-1 stalemate at Sayville and a scoreless battle at home against Walt Whitman. The team then dropped games to Kings Park (2-1) and East Islip (4-0). The Blue Devils started their winning streak by turning back Deer Park on the road, 3-1. That win was followed by a shutout of West Babylon, 1-0.
“The team has done a great job turning the offense around over the past few games,” Lynch said. “We have focused on playing the ball to the flags and crossing it into the middle. This strategy has given us many more opportunities. Our last few goals have been either on crosses or from long range.”
Taylor Moreno, the team’s goalie, has been hot over the course of the winning streak. “Our offense is finally connecting with each other and finding the net,” Moreno said. “We have girls finding the ball and putting it in the net just like we hoped would happen. I’m definitely seeing the ball well now. I feel a lot more composed and confident in the net and my only challenge is getting my hand where the ball is, which doesn’t seem to be that much of a challenge.”
Moreno said she counts most heavily on the defense that sweeper Alexandra Koumas provides. “She’s always got my back in case I can’t get to a ball or the offense is coming in hard. She’s there cutting off their runners and creating space for me and that makes my job a lot easier.”
Koumas said her job requires keeping her teammates on their marks and leading the defense. She’s been doing that quite well since the season began. “I think our team has really become better at playing off of each other’s strengths and in these last three games, that is what has allowed us to score and win,” the teenager said
Huntington is being pushed by coaches John Walsh and Vinny Tannazzo. “The team will keep working hard,” Lynch said. “We hope to continue our success in our next game.”