Seaford girls’ soccer fell to just shy of the program’s first playoff berth in seven years after dominating all but one of its conference opponents this fall.
The Lady Vikings were unbeaten in league play with the exception of two setbacks to unbeaten Valley Stream South, which played for the Nassau County Class A title this week. The two losses to South were enough to prevent Seaford (7-2) from obtaining the lone postseason spot in Conference AB-V.
“In this conference this no margin for error,” said fourth-year Seaford head coach Ken Botti, whose team fell to South by a 3-0 score on Sept. 14 and 2-0 on Oct. 2. “We dominated the conference with the exception of Valley Stream South.”
The Lady Vikings not only dominated the rest of Conference AB-V, but they did not give up a goal in any league match outside of the two South matches. Senior goalkeeper Arianna Casha keyed the string of shutouts and also kept Seaford competitive against South with a combined 20 saves in the two losses. She also shined with 14 saves in a 1-0 non-league loss to Conference AB-II opponent Plainedge on Sept. 12.
“She stood on her head,” said Botti of Casha, who earned All-County honors in her fourth and final year as a varsity starter. “I think she could play on any team in Nassau County.”
Casha anchored a stout Seaford defense that featured All-Conference honoree Alexis Frintzils along with Gina Toscano, Caitlin Costello and sweeper Tiffany Flores. Senior Alexa Garcia, who co-captained the team with Toscano, was also instrumental in the strong backline play as a defensive midfielder.
Sophomore center midfielder Olivia Pearse paced the Seaford offense as the Vikings’ leading goal scorer with 15 to earn All-Class honors a year after she was named to the All-County team. Fellow sophomore Niki Kassimatis ranked second on the team with 15 points, including eight goals, while sophomore Ashley Sidoti had 11 points, which included two goals and an assist in a 7-0 win at Hewlett on Sept. 22.
“It will be good to have my two top goal scorers back next year,” Botti said. “Now we have to build a strong defense behind them.”
While Pearse and Sidoti will return, the Lady Vikings will lose nine seniors to graduation including six starters that helped restore a winning foundation. Seaford, which finished 8-4 overall, quadrupled the wins from Botti’s first year behind the bench in 2015.
“It’s bitter sweet for them to end their careers without the playoffs,” Botti said. “We feel we should still be out there.”
Botti hopes that South’s playoff success this year will result in moving the program up to one of the higher conferences and create a smoother path for a younger Seaford team to reach the playoff stage. The Vikings last reached the postseason in 2011 when they competed in Conference I.
“We’re going to be going through a massive rebuilding with so many seniors lost,” Botti said. “I hope we have eyes on the prize.”