It is an exciting time for soccer fans in Lynbrook and East Rockaway, and it isn’t just because the FIFA World Cup is underway. The Lynbrook/East Rockaway Lightning youth soccer team won the Girls-Under-11 Arch Cup Gold championship on June 9 at Peter Collins Soccer Park in Plainview, downing the Hicksville Dare Devils 3-0 to notch the victory.
Christina Genovese was the leading scorer for Lynbrook/East Rockaway, tallying two of the Lightning’s three goals in the game. Brooke Boccio had the team’s third marker, while goalkeeper Megan Skliros was credited with a shutout between the goalposts as the Lightning dominated the contest.
“They’ve been together for a number of years now,” said coach William Whitehouse of the team. “Having seen them succeed recently just makes me feel really good for them. The time they’re putting into this — practice and game time — is really paying off for them.”
The team’s recent success extends beyond its championship win at the Arch Cup. Lynbrook/East Rockaway went undefeated for most of the regular season as part of the Long Island Junior Soccer League.
The Arch Cup, a tournament organized by the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association, began in September 2017 and was run sepearately from the regula season. The Lightning faced an immediate setback, losing their opening game in the tournament to Hicksville. Not to be deterred, the team fought back over their next two games to earn a win and a draw and advance out of its group, beating the Terryville Fury and MCCS Riptide.
From there, the tournament continued with a four-team bracket this spring, during which the Lightning played their best soccer. The team dispatched the Smithtown Toros in the semifinals with ease, before getting revenge on the Dare Devils in the finals to win the championship. Hicksville had won every game it played in the Arch Cup heading into the finals, but could get past Lynbrook/East Rockaway. Over the course of its final two games of the tournament, the Lightning outscored their opponents 5-0.
Although the Arch Cup Gold championship has been secured, the season is not yet over for the Lightning. The 12-member team still had two games remaining in its regular season as of press time, and will try to remain undefeated.
“The kids, for starters, are very good listeners and good athletes,” Whitehouse said, “but they really take direction well…they’re able to execute what we try to lay out as a plan and it seems to be working.”