By Coach Bevivino
Trying to wrap up the first season is a very daunting task. With so many firsts and records being set, it’s difficult to highlight them all. Above all else though, the easiest item to discuss, and I speak for the entire coaching staff, are the bonds and friendships that were created this season. This team came together quickly and transformed from a group of many individuals to a team, and I cannot thank them enough for how they accepted not only each other, but me as their coach.
I said this on the very first day of tryouts to the team and I think it is more relevant now than ever; “This will be a team I will never forget, it will be a season many firsts, and the girls that are on this team will forever set a precedent; you will forever be the members of the first Women’s Soccer team in FIT History. Every girl on this team will always have a place in the legacy that this program will create. So think about that every early morning, every workout in the gym, and every chance you get on the field, you are writing history…”, and history they have written.
I sit here over a week after the season has ended, and I am challenged to capture the season as a whole, trying to decide what stories to tell. Do I report on the stats? Do I talk about our team bonding events? Or do I talk about each of the women on this team individually? I could write pages about each one of those, there are so many things to choose from; the early morning practices, the late nights coming home from away games...there are so many stories to tell, it’s hard to decide and the longer I sit here writing this, and rereading what I have already written, the more stories pop into my head, but I think the best way to sum up our season is: unforgettable.
Here are a few statistical Highlights from the season:
Fastest goal scored- Kirsten Gonzalez scored 0:36s into the game against Nassau and was assisted by Brittany Sheeran.
Shutouts- Mia Vuksanaj has set the record with 2 shutouts, against Suffolk and Nassau.
Goalkeeping- Mia Vuksanaj started and finished every game this season recording 120 saves, allowing 17 goals, giving her a goal against average of 1.8. Her save percentage was 87.2%
Defense- Our defense was the solid backbone of the team this year. With an average of 1.25 goals allowed per game, the team accumulated over 20 blocked shots this season.
Scoring leader- Kristen Nicewicz finished the season with a team high 4 goals and 1 assist
Assist leader- Brittany Sheeran finished the season with 3 assists and 3 goals.
MVP- Mia Vuksanaj-Our senior goalie was selected by the players and coaches as this year’s MVP. Her outstanding play in the net, kept the team alive in many games. She was an outstanding player an amazing captain and the team is heartbroken to see her leave. Her stats speak volumes of her talents, however watching Mia play was often times beyond what words can capture.
MIP- Sarah Cappy- easily the best choice for our most improved player award. Both players and coaches agreed almost unanimously. Sarah did not begin the season as a starter, but was given a chance in the first game to get some playing time. The second she took the field, Sarah locked herself into that position for the rest of the year. Her tough defensive play combined with her speed made her a true force to be reckoned with. The first time I subbed Sarah off the field she said “see, I told you I could play,” and boy was she right.
Season overview- In the beginning of the season we were faced with overcoming stereotypes and misconceptions. We felt like we were going to be facing an uphill battle the entire season, and that every time we stepped onto the soccer pitch we were going to be considered the underdog. But that quickly changed. Our second game into the season, FIT captured its first win in the school’s history over Suffolk CC (3-0). With that win, the women of FIT gained momentum and kept the solid play and winning going. We, as a solid unit, rolled into other team’s campuses with a new found energy and confidence, no longer the underdogs, but true competition. Finishing the regular season with a regional record of 4-3-1 (4-4-1 overall) and losing in the first round of regional playoffs to Nassau, FIT has concluded a very successful and positive first season.
However the main focus of this season should not just be about records and stats. The team itself is something that needs particular attention. The first item that needs to be pointed out is the commitment level that the girls all showed. The practice times alone would scare most college students away from playing. But 7am practices quickly became a bonding experience for each member. Travelling together to our practice fields, the subway to pier 40 or walking a mile to Chelsea Waterside Park, the girls clicked together and became a support system for one another forming one of the most close knit teams I have ever coached. This team worked through injuries, work schedules and academics to always pull together and represent FIT on the field in a way an amazing school like FIT deserved to be represented. The FIT administration, faculty members, support staff, parents, and relatives, all deserve praise as the girls that were on this team were some of the finest, and hardest working young women I have ever had the privilege of leading. You all have done an amazing job shaping them into truly amazing people.
Some of my favorite memories of the season come from off the field events the team and coaching staff took part in. The first event was a team potluck held in the subbasement gym. We all ate and played games and had fun away from the field. I think everyone in attendance left that night with a full stomach and a smile on their face. Another event we attended was team pumpkin picking after a game on Long Island. The girls all moved around the pumpkin patch picking out the best pumpkin they could for a group carving. It’s funny looking back on the season and remembering all the team bonding that took place, just riding in the vans to our games by itself was always an adventure, I personally don’t think I ever made it to a game without getting lost.
Final remarks- It’s very difficult to end this article personally, because I know that in doing so it will really be the end of the season. Before I finish, I must write a few thank you’s. The first of which goes to the person that without her this team and season wouldn’t exist. Brittany Harris a student of FIT was the catalyst that started the creation of this team, and without whom none of this would have been possible. So with my most sincere thanks, thank you Brittany. The second thank you I owe is to my assistant coach Ben. He was always there for me, and the team, and without his help and support, I couldn’t have done my job. Next of course, Kerri-Ann, Miriam, and Felicia, thank you so much for everything you did this season I truly owe you all more thanks than could ever be said. To the team, words could not express the gratitude and true loss that I currently possess for all of you. You made my college coaching debut one that I will never forget. To those leaving the team, I wish you the best in any and all future endeavors you undertake, and to those players returning, I already can’t wait for the next season to start. Lastly and certainly not least, thank you to my fiancée for understanding and supporting me in my 3 month absence. So with all the thank yous said, and hoping I didn’t miss anyone, I can say this in confidence beginning to end the 2011 season was one that will never be forgotten by all that participated.