Jocelyn Aguilar is willing to do whatever it takes to ensure she has a winning senior girls’ soccer season at Grand Street.
So when coach Andre Lamy sat down last year’s All-Brooklyn Player of the Year and three-year starter and said he wanted talented freshman Leslie Deleon to replace her at center midfield, she didn’t take offense. Instead the quiet leader agreed to take a step back and give the newcomer a chance. Aguilar moves to the defensive side of the midfield to allow Deleon an opportunity to shine and make the team even stronger.
“She has the ability to give what I have,” Aguilar said. “She is a great player, so it is okay.”
While Lamy would like Aguilar to be more vocal, he knows her actions set a tone for the rest of the team.
“They know she is a great player,” he said. “They look to what she says, but also look to her leadership on the field.”
Her actions show that no one person is bigger than the team, one she believe is the best during her tenure because of the addition of transfers Dayanna Riera Loor and Viviana Garcia to a strong returning core.
Grand Street sees this group, which lost just one senior, as capable of joining the ranks of the Public School Athletic League’s elite programs. Last year the Wolves produced one of the best seasons in program history by going 12–2 and losing on penalty kicks in the opening round of the playoffs to McKee-Staten Island Tech. That won’t be enough to satisfy the hungry Wolves this year.
“We worked so hard since our freshman year to get to where we are,” said senior defender Jazmin Gonzales. “We want to do more.”
McKee-Staten Island Tech has been one of the league’s top teams in recent years and Staten Island remains its best borough for girls soccer. Grand Street felt it should have won, but the moment was too big for a roster filled with freshmen, which is not used to being the favorite.
“At the time we were nervous because they were a bigger team than us,” said sophomore forward Elizabeth Zahuantitla. “Now I think we should have move confidence.”
The sophomore core of Zahuantitla, Stephanie Sosa Bravo, Neja Cruz, and Stacy Guaman are a year older. They are more technically sound and have a better understanding of their roles.
The Wolves did have to give girls new responsibilities, with Gonzales coming back slowly from a torn ACL she suffered in June. Cruz was moved to center but is now back in her place. Aguilar’s presence will sure up the defense along with second-year senior goalie Leslie Moscoso.
That talent on the roster allows Lamy to set the bar high. He believes he has one of the league’s top five teams this year, and sees the potential for a deep playoff run. The Wolves expect to continue to have a potent offense attack with Zahuantitla and Riera Loor leading the way in front of an improved defense. Hopes of what the Wolves can accomplish are high.
“Their goal is to compete with the elite, Beacon and Bronx Science for a least a championship run,” Lamy said. “If they can’t win it all, they are going to try to leave it all out on the field. They are hungry this year to try to win.”