Buzzworthy: Hornets girls’ soccer notches win in first-place tilt • Brooklyn Paper

Buzzworthy: Hornets girls’ soccer notches win in first-place tilt

Quick footwork: Midwood’s Laura Schuman tries to avoid Grand Street’s Neja Cruz as she moves the ball downfield.
Photo by Caleb Caldwell

It was all about seizing the opportunity.

The Midwood girls soccer team did just that, notching a 2–1 victory over Grand Street Campus on Sept. 29. The Hornets are now the sole first-place team in Brooklyn A-VII play. It’s also a big-time statement for a 5–0 Midwood squad that dropped both of its games to Grand Street last season by a combined score of 14–2.

“Grand Street is always a really tough team, but we’ve been playing super well, and it’s been a crazy ride this season,” said junior midfielder Lara Schuman. “To finally beat one of the best teams — and they’ve been, in our league at least, unbeatable — it feels really good.”

It wasn’t a perfect start for the Hornets. Midwood racked up four corner kicks early on, but Grand Street still managed to take a lead as Wendy Salazar found the back of the net just minutes into the first half.

“There were some nerves, because it was Grand Street,” said Midwood coach Kendra Lane. “So coming in, we were excited and hopeful, and once we got the nerves out, we settled down and just played our game.”

Midwood didn’t stay down long after the Wolves’ early score, and the Hornets tied it up in the 24th minute on Isabelle Blok’s goal.

The sophomore midfielder took advantage of a Grand Street defensive miscue and eased the ball into the far corner of the net, giving the Hornets a much-needed boost of confidence. It was all Midwood from there on out.

Schuman gave the Hornets a lead that the squad would never surrender in the 30th minute, connecting on a penalty kick after Grand Street was whistled for a foul in the box.

“I repositioned, because I knew the goalie was going to the other side,” Schuman said. “And I put it in the back of the net. I just wanted to kick it in the frame.”

Grand Street didn’t go down without a fight, but the Wolves’ miscues hurt down the stretch. The squad couldn’t convert on a free kick in the 65th minute and refs whistled the squad offsides three times in the final half-hour of play.

“That was a tough loss,” said Grand Street coach Andre Lamy. “We were missing four starters today, four big starters. The positive is that we were still in it.”

Grand Street didn’t help its own cause in the second half, but Midwood’s defense was also locked in when it mattered. Senior goalkeeper Nili Cuatle was a wall in the net, racking up three second-half saves and cutting off a final-minute Wolves offensive push.

“I’ve been doing this for three years now, and I just live for this position,” Cuatle said. “It feels wonderful to be the last line of defense and stop the goals.”

It’s still early in the season, but a win like this is a big step forward for Midwood’s entire soccer program. This team might not always be perfect on the field, but its record is — and that’s all the Hornets care about.

“It’s huge. This is my fifth year as a coach and it’s been a rebuilding process,” Lane said. “There were seasons where we were 0–16, so to start off the season so 5–0 feels really good.”

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