How is Lynbrook’s girls’ soccer team going to replace superstar Tyla Vuotto, the sniper now at Cortland.
It’s a question keeping Lynbrook coach Mike Palumbo up at night. “She has left a huge void on this team,’’ Palumbo said. “That’s what we’re looking for. We’re very young. We only have five seniors.’’
One of those seniors is Katie Sharkey, who plays midfield/striker and returns as captain. Palumbo named two more captains in seniors Kailey Dunne and his daughter, Francesca. Both are strikers and being counted on to score.
“I feel the responsibility.’’ Sharkey said. “Being a returning captain, everyone was looking up to me at first but Coach Palumbo picked two more senior captains. It’s nice to have them helping me. Tyla left big shoes for me to fill. She was an amazing player.’’
Lynbrook already has more losses than last season when it went 11-1. The club is off to a 1-2 start with goals scarce. Adding to the challenge is division realignment. The Owls jumped from A3 to A1.
This is a very tough conference,’’ Palumbo said. “Every game is a battle.’’
Lynbrook will be strongest at defense. The Owls have permitted three goals in three games. Lynbrook’s lone win was a 1-0 victory over Mineola. On Sept. 13, it dropped a 1-0 decision to Wantagh.
“The defense is doing a good job,’’ Palumbo said. “The offense is what we have to figure out.’’
A 2022 All-County honorable mention, Sharkey is the club’s best individual offensive performer while Palumbo and Dunne need set ups to finish.
“She’s the girl who gets us going and motivated,’’ Palumbo said. “She will run her body through anything and anyone to get to the ball. She never stops running. She’s a true leader and is explosively fast.’’
At striker, Dunne is three-year varsity player but logged just two goals in 2022. “She’s trying to create that offense for us,’’ Palumbo said.
The coach’s daughter Francesca is tasked with taking free kicks/corner kicks - the creator on set pieces. Last season, Francesca scored two goals and four assists.
Sophomore midfielder junior Gabby Meszaros is its best passer, an All-County honorable mention. The coach considers Meszaros “our point guard.’’ “We’re waiting for her to explode offensively,’’ Palumbo said. “She’s one of my most skilled players.’’
Then there’s Leah Casolaro, a sophomore who’s been on varsity since 8thgrade. Against Wantagh, two shots she took clanged the post. “She is fast but her foot skills are spectacular,’ Palumbo said.
The backline’s anchor is Mikayla D’Ambrosio, named a Top 100 player on Long Island. She is the Owls’ brainiest player.
The backline also features the coach’s other twin daughter, Lucia, who cleans up loose balls. Then there’s sophomore centerbacks, Payton Stalter, Addison DiFiore and Maggie Mattera. The goalie is Cate Jennings, a converted field player who made 7 saves vs. Wantagh.
Next up is Tuesday against conference favorite Plainedge. “It’s going to be easy to get down this year because we’re playing such good teams,’’ Sharkey said. “I’m hoping I can keep them thinking positive.’’