Ed Coyne thought he was in for a rebuilding season after losing eight seniors from a team that earned a share of the division title last season. While the Fort Hamilton coach believes his young team is still a year away they are starting to give him plenty of validation to the statement.
“I am starting six freshmen,” Coyne said. “It took awhile, but they have come a long way.”
The Tigers fell by just a goal to division-leading Brooklyn Tech early this month and followed that up with a 1-0 upset of visiting Leon Goldstein in PSAL Brooklyn A-III girls soccer Tuesday. Senior forward Jasmine Cardona scored the lone goal 20 minutes into the match. She rifled a shot from just outside the box and saw the ball deflect off a Goldstein defender and in.
“Nobody had a chance at it,” Coyne said.
His team’s greatest feat may have been holding Goldstein star forward Pamela Wishart scoreless for the first time this season. The sophomore leads the PSAL with 26 goals in 10 games. Coyne said the plan was to keep her from getting touches and clean looks at the net. She managed just four shots on goal, which is usually a total in the first 15 minutes on most afternoons.
The job of marking Wishart was given to freshman Emily Fagan, one she played to perfection. Irene Kafkis made six first-half saves for the Tigers and Maria Pettet, playing her first game in goal, had six after the break. Rebecca Candelaria tallied 12 saves for Goldstein (8-2-0).
“I told the kid just stay with her and that’s all she did,” Coyne said. “She never really got that many good shots off. A lot of times she was off the mark because she couldn’t set the ball. Emily stayed with her the whole time.”
Fort Hamilton (5-3-0) is beginning to jell at the right time. Coyne said it took time to get acclimated to the new faces to play together and at the speed of the high school level. His squad had won two straight and he hopes the confidence from this victory will push them to win its final four regular season games, including an Oct. 25 rematch at Brooklyn Tech.
“It puts them over the top,” Coyne said. “They are ready to go now. They are not afraid of anybody. They don’t back down.”