It was a sterling year for PSAL girls’ soccer, not to mention its last in the spring.
The final season before the switch was a memorable one. McKee/Staten Island Tech fulfilled its destiny, winning a second PSAL Class A city title in three years and sending coach Tony DiMaggio into retirement as a champion. Beacon had another excellent season coming off its own city title run. Francis Lewis, Canarsie and Petrides ma
All-PSAL Girls’ Soccer
Player Of The Year
D Chelsea Davies, Beacon: There was nothing glamorous about Chelsea Davies’ game. The senior didn’t play striker; she didn’t score a bunch of goals. But she was the biggest reason why Beacon went undefeated in league play and was able to make its way back to the PSAL Class AA city title game.
Davies, who will play at Williams College in the fall, was the city’s best sweeper. She almost single-handedly shut down the high-powered McKee/Staten Island Tech attack in the championship game. Beacon lost in penalty kicks, but MSIT, which had been blowing teams out, didn’t score a single goal. Davies marked Sea Gulls striker Jackie Bruno wonderfully and Tech’s offense never got going. It was a spectacular performance in a losing effort.
All-PSAL Girls’ Soccer
Coach Of The Year
Kim Caccese, Petrides: Petrides has been a Staten Island also-ran for years, never as good as teams like Tottenville, McKee/Staten Island Tech and Susan Wagner. This year, though, things were different. Caccese guided an incredibly young team, made up mostly of freshmen and sophomores, to a second-place finish in Staten Island – arguably the city’s toughest division – and its first trip to the PSAL Class A quarterfinals.
All-PSAL First Team
M Alexandra Bushman, Bronx Science: She made the transition from defender to midfield look seamless this season. Of course, Bushman always had the tendency to be a playmaker from the backline. The junior became an integral part of Bronx Science’s offense this season. So skillful, Bushman was hard to mark one-on-one and especially difficult to contain in the Wolverines’ midfield, one of the best in the city.
F Jackie Bruno, McKee/Staten Island Tech: Bruno burst onto the scene this year as one of the PSAL’s top strikers as a freshman. She complemented the skills of Michelle Tartaglione and Jessica Panarella, MSIT’s captains, beautifully. So quick, technical and poised, Bruno helped lead the Sea Gulls to their second PSAL Class A city title in three years.
GK Nicole Carroll, Bayside: Carroll helped lead Bayside to the PSAL Class A city title game as a sophomore and the semifinals last year. But this year was the Concordia-bound senior’s finest season. Carroll never had the talent in front of her that she did two years ago and the Commodores were plagued by injuries all season. That didn’t stop Carroll from being one of the very best goalkeepers in the city and keeping Bayside in every game.
F Jessica Figueroa, Arts & Business: Explosive with the ball at her feet, Figueroa was an extremely dangerous offensive player. The senior has a powerful leg and she could put it in with ease from distance. With her and Stephanie Rivas leading the Arts & Business attack, it was hard to keep the Bulls in check.
F Niri Halperin, Brooklyn Tech: Halperin wasn’t just a smart, crafty goal scorer – one of the best in the league – she was one of the architects of history. The sophomore led Brooklyn Tech to its first win against Midwood and its first division title this season. The Engineers are going to be leaning on her for the next few years, when they have a chance to really make waves in the PSAL.
M Taylor Murtaugh, Bronx Science: The big, physical junior was a nightmare for opposing defenses with her size and strength. Murtaugh, who also stars for the school’s girls’ basketball team, plays every game like it’s her last. She’s the heart and soul of the Wolverines and part of one of the best midfield units in the city.
M Jessica Panarella, McKee/Staten Island Tech: The senior was injured last year when MSIT lost in the PSAL Class A city title game to Beacon. Panarella reveled in playing against the Blue Demons this year in the final and almost willed her team there with her leadership and excellent play in the midfield. She, along with Michelle Tartaglione, were team captains and signature members of this Sea Gulls dynasty.
M Stephanie Rivas, Arts & Business: Bull is a befitting nickname for Rivas. That’s exactly what she was in the midfield for Arts & Business. She mixed her size, strength and power with tremendous skill and technical soccer. Her leg was one of the most dangerous in the city. She could put the ball on goal from almost anywhere. Rivas will certainly be missed by coach Keith Horan.
F Anna Kay Robinson, Canarsie: Canarsie was not a superbly talented team, but they did have a superbly talented player. Robinson emerged as one of the PSAL’s elite this season, helping the Chiefs to a share of the division title and a trip to the Class A quarterfinals in their first year up from ‘B.’ Robinson was incredibly athletic, physical and masterful with the ball at her feet. She was very dangerous on set pieces and almost converted a tying one against Francis Lewis in the quarters.
F Michelle Tartaglione, McKee/Staten Island Tech: Almost every time MSIT scored, Tartaglione was involved in someway. Whether making a pinpoint pass or putting intense pressure on the defense with her ball-control skills, the senior was relentless. Tartaglione was also a great leader and team captain, along with Jessica Panarella, and one of the premier faces in the Sea Gulls’ two city titles in the past three years.
F Despina Psomopoulos, Bayside: If not for injury issues – with her and the entire Bayside team – Psomopoulos would have been an All-City Player of the Year candidate. A bad ankle and the Commodores being ousted in the PSAL Class A second round put that out of reach. That isn’t to say Psomopoulos, who will play at Albany next year, wasn’t one of the best players in the city. Actually, if she was healthy, she might have been the best.
All-PSAL Second Team
M Morgan Browning, Stuyvesant: The tall and lanky senior was technically sound and made a huge impact out of the midfield for Stuyvesant. She was missed dearly in a PSAL Class A second-round loss to Susan Wagner. Browning was out with the flu.
D Jessie Diamond, Francis Lewis: On a team without stars, Diamond really stood out. Her ability in the back was a key for Francis Lewis in its best season ever. The Patriots won their division and made their first trip to the PSAL Class A semifinals.
F Amanda Feldstein, Petrides: Physically, she was almost impossible to match up with for opposing defenses. Tall and blessed with impossibly long legs, Feldstein got to balls others couldn’t and made plays opponents could only dream of making. She helped lead Petrides to its best season ever, including a trip to the PSAL Class A quarterfinals.
F Elsa Hardy, Beacon: If you looked up smooth and effortless in the dictionary, Hardy’s face would appear. So athletic and sound, the junior stepped up her game exponentially when leading goal scorer Christina Angione tore her ACL early in the season.
M Sophie Kligler, Beacon: Had her brilliant cross in overtime found someone’s head in the PSAL Class A final, Beacon might have been celebrating its second straight championship. Kligler made plays like that all year. The sophomore midfielder was one of the team’s best creators. Her future is incredibly bright.
M Samantha Malec, Susan Wagner: Without the injured Natalie Tombasco, all Malec did was become one of the most potent goal scorers in the PSAL. Her hat trick against Stuyvesant in the Class A second round was one of the highlights of the postseason.
GK Nestlyn Matthew, Canarsie: Matthew was so tall and so athletic, it was almost unfair to opposing offenses. The senior almost single-handedly helped Canarsie steal a game in the PSAL Class A second round against No. 4 Arts & Business. It will go down as one of the biggest upsets ever in the girls’ soccer playoffs and Matthew was reason No. 1 why it happened.
M Bitsy Morgan, Bronx Science: The fundamentally sound senior had more than just a bit part in Bronx Science’s success. Morgan was a precise playmaker out of the midfield, aiding Alexandra Bushman and Taylor Murtaugh with gorgeous crosses and through balls. The Wolverines don’t make a second-straight PSAL Class A semifinals without her.
D Lauren Peters, McKee/Staten Island Tech: The only sweeper better in the city this year was Chelsea Davies. Peters used her size and length to give opposing defenders absolute fits. On a team with so many great players on the offensive side of the ball, a player like Peters was absolutely needed to stabilize the backline.
M Jessica Riccardi, Brooklyn Tech: Riccardi was one of the most fun players to watch in the PSAL. Her ability with the ball at her feet is a sight to behold – it’s worth the price of admission alone. The junior set up Niri Halperin time and time again this season for goals. Riccardi is one of the best playmakers around.
D Victoria Roda, Petrides: The Panthers were a defensive-minded team, especially when they had the lead. They couldn’t have been anything of the sort without Roda. She was a tremendous sweeper, one of the PSAL’s elite at the position.