East Meadow reaching another level

The East Meadow girls’ soccer team has gone from also-rans to conference title contenders in the blink of an eye. After scoring just seven times during their 0-12 season in 2021, the Jets enjoyed a shocking resurgence last fall by going 11-2-1 while holding a 39-4 scoring advantage. Despite their strong record, the team wasn’t able to punch a postseason ticket because AA schools must win at least 85 percent of their games to qualify, but this year’s squad is already on its way to doing so.

Third-year coach Nicolette Tortorici admitted to being a little discouraged following that winless effort, which coincided with the end of Covid and playing in the top conference, but her trust and optimism in the team eventually paid off. “It was definitely a learning curve, my first season,” she said. “But we’re where we’re supposed to be right now and hopefully, in a couple of years, we rebuild and we can get back up to that level and have players that can compete against these big-time schools.”

The momentum has carried over into the new season after the Jets held off Hewlett 3-2 on Sept. 12 and doubled up Great Neck North 6-3 two days later. Junior Rachel Nasshorn – a 16-goal scorer last year – is already in midseason form by scoring five times in the two games, including all three markers against Hewlett.

“She has endurance like no other player that I’ve seen play,” Tortorici said. “Even though I’m making her a center middie, she will be wherever that ball is. It took a little bit in the first two weeks to get her dishing off the ball and communicating with others in the middle. She only knew to do things by herself, so she made a huge turnaround in the last two games.”
Nasshorn is already forming a nice bond with freshman center midfielder Ella Giordano, who scored twice against North. Freshman Emily Klin added a goal and assist that day and is finally giving the Jets a scoring threat at forward.

“In the past couple of years, our forwards weren’t really the goal scorers,” Tortorici said. “A lot of our goal scoring came from our midfielders. Finally having a forward that’s able to put the ball in the back of the net is very refreshing to see.” Alexis Chew returns for her senior season as a forward-center midfield hybrid after scoring twice last year. Senior Emily Lepore has shown great improvement at midfield, according to Tortorici, who also lauded sophomore Kaylee Pirozzi for her play at stopper.

Senior Arianna Fuduli is the defensive cornerstone but is also an offensive threat with a goal on a long free kick against North and two assists thus far after recording eight points in 2022. Seniors Jennifer and Kayla Cassidy will interchange at center back and freshman Peyton Chester was instrumental in shutting down the Hewlett offense.

Junior goalkeeper Jennah Farooki started both games and stopped a combined 14 shots, but freshman Ava Matthews relieved in both games and made 9 total saves.