By Brandon Mauk
Jacklyn Lada and Samantha Margolis make quite a combination.
The Francis Lewis duo combined for three of the team’s five goals in a 5-0 bounce-back home win over Bryant in PSAL Queens A-V girls’ soccer last Wednesday.
Lada, a sophomore, scored the first two goals in the first half for the Patriots, one in the 12th minute and the second in the 25th on a header. She credited team captain Margolis for setting up both scores.
“We have a lot of 1-2 passes together and we do a lot of give-and-go’s and our plays are really good,” Lada said. “We could read each other’s minds on the field.”
Margolis scored a goal herself a minute into the second half, on an assist from Lada. Sarafina Smith added two scores of her own to put the finishing touches on the victory.
“Jackie laid it off and it was perfect and I just took a risk, hit it,” Margolis said.
It was a victory against a previously unbeaten Bryant team, one that Lewis needed after having fallen to rival Benjamin Cardozo the day before. A year after reaching the PSAL semifinals, the Patriots have a much younger, but talented and deep, roster. The players and first-year head coach Eleni Sotiriou are gearing up for an even deeper playoff run this season.
“I’m always positive that we can go far,” Sotiriou said. “The school has a really good reputation and a very bright future. This is a great squad this year. Even though we lost [to Cardozo] yesterday, we take that as a lesson and we just move forward.”
Sotiriou replaced Jeovani Paredes, after spending the last three years as his assistant. An alumnus of Francis Lewis, she played for Paredes when he was still an assistant coach under Roger Sarmuksnis. The 24 year-old rookie head coach has come full circle and made a smooth transition.
“It was definitely an adjustment, because we had Mr. P for so long, but Eleni had been our assistant coach and she was so enthusiastic,” Margolis said.
Francis Lewis is off to a good start. Despite their 2-0 loss to Cardozo, the Patriots have averaged 4.5 goals per match, a testament to their deep roster.
“It’s helpful that we can rely on all the girls, just in case one of us isn’t feeling good or we’re not having our best days,” Lada said.
Sotiriou praised her team’s desire to go back out the next day and play better.
“No one liked that loss yesterday, especially on our turf, on our home field,” she said.
Despite the loss, Bryant coach Themis Bollanos was still pleased by his team’s effort against Francis Lewis, especially after they upset Bayside a week before. Bryant won five games last year and just two the year before. This year, the Owls are off to a 2-1 start.
“We competed, we played good defense in the first half, in the second half the girls got tired,” Bollanos said. “The girls are going to use that loss to, if anything, work harder, get better and look at every game separately.”