Adapting under new head coach James Raucci last season, Calhoun coalesced at an opportune moment, surging through the playoffs into the Nassau Class AA girls' soccer final – where, at last, forward Annie Coogan's solitary goal was not enough to counter eventual Long Island champion Massapequa, as Calhoun reached the end of the line in a 5-1 loss.
"It's tough to lose," said Raucci, whose Lady Colts went 6-3-3 (9-4-5 overall) last year as runners up in Conference AA-I. "But I was proud of the girls for making it that far."
When Calhoun went to Massapequa seeking vengeance early this season, it again was all-conference honoree Coogan – now a senior and still a forward – who scored the Lady Colts' lone goal. This time, though, Coogan's tally would suffice, as Calhoun (2-1-1 In AA-I, 3-1-1 overall out of the gate) clamped down to wrest a 1-0 win.
"Annie Coogan can create trouble for a team's back line," Raucci said of the Molloy College commit. "It's good to get that win out of the way. But I don't want my girls feeling pressured to make it back to the finals. I try to let that mindset develop organically."
One early adopter of this frame of mind appears to be sophomore midfielder Kerry Pearson – who, as Calhoun's youngest starter, leads the Lady Colts in scoring. "Kerry has a powerful shot," Raucci said. "We're looking for her to give us some firepower."
All-conference senior midfielder Katie Healy returns to round out Calhoun's offensive attack, which includes forward Ariel (Tilly) Tillman and midfielder Sarah Tapetto, both juniors.
"Katie is talented with her feet, a great one-on-one player" Raucci said. "Tilly is deceptively fast and plays really smooth.
Sarah Tapetto's an important piece; we're still trying her at different spots."
Defensively this season, Calhoun has altered its posture from a year ago, showing greater variation in setups. "We like to give different looks, different stacking," Raucci said.
In this connection, senior Mia Advocate has been placed on special assignment, moving from forward – where she played all last season – to start as the Lady Colts' sweeper.
"Mia's a Mighty Mouse," Raucci said. "We're looking for her to hold it down back there."
Junior Brittney Munson starts as Calhoun's center back, with junior Ellie Beichert, senior Kayla Pilotti and freshman Lauren Rossi as fullbacks, and senior Taylor Curcio – a Hofstra University commit – starting at stopper.
"Brittney's a quick, athletic leader," Raucci said. "Ellie Biechert plays the game smart. Taylor's a physical player who's not afraid to make a run into the offensive zone."
Filling some rather big shoes between the pipes is Calhoun's goalkeeper Julia Miguel, a senior, who succeeds now-graduated all-conference goalie Gillian Stapler. Acing her first on-field test, Miguel posted 15 saves in Calhoun's season-opening non-conference 1-0 win at Mepham.
"Julia's an aggressive goalie," Raucci said. "She's smart and quick in the net."
"It's a tough conference," Raucci added. "I think we've got all the pieces. The team that wins will be the one who figures things out the fastest."