Weekly Feature



2018-10-10 / Sports

Lady Blue Devils’ soccer riding win streak

by TAYLOR NIGRELLI Reporter

The Kenmore West girls soccer team is coming together at just the right time. The Lady Blue Devils are 7-6 now after winning three games in a row.

Last Monday, they got a 2-1 win over Lockport. Laura Cohn scored early on an assist from Molly Tobin. Lockport tied things up in the second half, but Tobin scored again late in the game to get the win.

The next day, the Lady Blue Devils defeated Niagara Falls 6-2 off goals from Tobin, Faye Panagopoulos (two), Cohn, Julianna Falsone and Vanessa Schmidt. Thursday, they again beat Lockport 2-0, this time with goals from Tobin and Cohn.

“The girls are really gelling,” Kenmore West coach Ken Belote said. “We’re all excited about how we are doing. The girls are really proud of our accomplishments this year. Beating North Tonawanda to start the year sure helped us springboard into a successful season.”

The team has figured out who should be playing where and what each girl’s responsibilities are. That has led to them easily surpassing last year’s win total.

“We’re playing well at this point in the year,” Belote said. “We really have a good starting formation. Our starting 11, when no one is injured, really helps us out. We really found out what our positions are and our responsibilities in those positions.

“Two weeks ago, when we were a game under .500, I knew this part of the schedule was going to be good for us. I knew there were going to be some winnable games for us, some good, competitive, close matches. I told the girls not to get down with a little string of losses in the middle of the season. I knew coming back strong at the end of the year with a schedule for us. I knew we’d have some good competitive games that I thought we would win.”

Olivia Guarino has been spectacular in net over the past few games, helping the team along on its win streak.

“She has just been on fire the last couple of games,” Belote said. “She’s making a lot of good saves and taking care of the defense with their communication.”

Tobin and Panagopoulos have been key goal scores for the Lady Blue Devils. Tobin has 13 goals and eight assists. Panagopoulos has seven goals and five assists. Schmidt, Cohn and Stephanie Seyfang have all been key players as well.

“They have been contributing most of my goals and assists,” Belote said. “Vanes- sa Schmidt is my center midfielder; she controls the ball for me really well in the middle. My two side midfielders, Laura Cohn and Stephanie Seyfang, just know their responsibilities. They know where to put the ball. We’ve worked a lot on where to move the ball on the field. Between combination plays, we’re sending the ball deep to our strikers; that’s helped a lot.”

The Lady Blue Devils will play their crossover game Wednesday, likely against Kenmore East. They’ll also have Sweet Home Thursday in a non-league game to close out the regular season.

“We’re aiming to win all three games this week,” Belote said. “Then we’ll see who we end up with for sectionals next week. That’s been our goal. We knew what teams we’d be competitive against and what teams were going to be a challenge for us. We’re in the part of the season now where we can be competitive with the teams we played last week, with our wins that we got and the games coming up this week. We know it’s going to be a nice, competitive match.”

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