The Seaford girls’ soccer moved up to Conference A2 this fall after an unbeaten regular season and is fighting to remain there for the future.
The Vikings are facing stiffer competition without key members of a 12-1-1 campaign held in the spring due to the Covid-19 pandemic that ended with a second round playoff loss to eventual county champion South Side in the quarterfinals.. Seventh-year coach Ken Botti expects growing plans after big graduation losses, but hopes the team can make enough progress to avoid relegation back to Conference A3 where the top finisher only receives a 15 seed for the postseason.
“Conference two is a conference we want to be in and stay in because the advantages in this conference are so much better than three, or for our five,” said Botti of Seaford’s new league where every team is assured of a playoff spot. “We’re going to take a couple gut punches, but we want to make a home in conference two.”
Seaford graduated three All-County scorers from last season in Olivia Pearse, Ashley Sidoti and Niki Kassimatis. Senior Leila Schwartz will take on an offensive increased role this season at forward along with classmate Jenna Moraglia, who missed the spring season due a conflict with her club team.
Eighth-grader Allyson Cullingford is adding a spark near the net early in her varsity career with Botti seeing potential comparisons to Pearse, who was also a five-year player and is now playing on the collegiate level at Hofstra. Senior Antonietta Buffolino provides experience in the center midfield after netting five goals and two assists as a junior.
The defense is anchored by senior goalkeeper Madison Catalonotti, who has kept Seaford in matches early on highlighted by a six-save performance in a 0-0 tie with Bellmore JFK. Catalonotti brings plenty of big game experience to the table for her final high school season two years after posting nine saves in Seaford’s 3-2 first round upset against top-seeded Wantagh as a sophomore.
“She is a seasoned and experienced goalkeeper,” Botti said. “She could keep teams off the board and keep us in the game.”
Sophomore sweeper Arianna Garcia leads the backline in front of Catalonotti after starting every match as a freshman. The defense also features senior Emma Williamson and her younger sister Amanda as outside backs along with senior Alexandra Leggio.
A 4-1 win at Valley Stream South Saturday moved Seaford to 1-2-1 on the young season. Amanda Ettinger, Chloe DeVito, Buffolino and Garcia all netted goals.
After a home match versus North Shore after press time, Seaford travels to nearby North Merrick Thursday for a 5 p.m. kickoff versus Calhoun before another road match at New Hyde Park on Tuesday. The next home match is set for Sept. 30 against Long Beach in a non-league tilt at 4:45 p.m.
“We want to be in games, we want to be competitive and we want to push for the championship.” Botti said. “We’re going to be very strong defensively so we should be in every game.”