Winning the League title with the Varsity Girls soccer team at Briarcliff is a feat in and of itself, but coach David Villalobos has managed to achieve this feat twice in a row – this time without the 10 seniors who graduated last year.
For Villalobos, who is on his second year as Head Varsity coach, this win has been a great honor.
“This has been amazing, I have enjoyed my time coaching and I am having fun every day when I come to train the girls,” he said. “Assistant coach Lauren Pesce and I are just doing our best to help them be the best that they can be both on and off the field.”
The League includes teams in the following high schools: Briarcliff, Pleasantville, Rye Neck, Westlake, Valhalla and Blind brook.
“We are all in one conference league and we play each other twice per season. The team with the most wins, wins the league,” Villalobos said.
Villalobos attributes the team’s success to both determination as well as passion.
“This year we fought through a lot of adversity,” he said. “We lost 10 seniors, almost half of them were our starters were defenders. We also had injuries: Dylan Zednik tore her ACL in the sectional final last year, so she couldn’t play until late in the season, and we had two injuries in a scrimmage before our first game.”
According to Villalobos, the student athletes showed strong determination to be out on the field.
“They had the hunger to play and they just wanted the title very much,” he said. “They had the determination to keep achieving those goals. Winning another league title is a part of history and you always want to be a part of that.”
One athlete who stepped it up this season is senior Talia London, who plays center-back.
“Last year she had minimal minutes of playing time, but this year she has played every single minute,” he said. “Coming into the season, Lauren and I were a little nervous because we didn’t know who was going to step up, and Talia was the first one. She had impressed us so much during preseason and the girls saw that and se was voted as one of the captains, along with seniors Dylan Zednik, Gabriella Chioccola and junior Sora Marable. She has really grown into the position and she has done a very good job for us.”
Next up for the team is to win the section title. They are off to a great start with a 1-0 win over Bronxville on Friday. Next game is set for Monday, October 24.
“We are trying to be the best in our class. Last year we were 80 minutes away from winning it, but I told the girls that we would be back,” Villalobos said.
The team will have to win three games in order to get to the finals and Mr. Villalobos wants them to start on a new page.
“I told the girls: everything that we achieved so far, that is in the past and does not matter anymore. It was great to win, but now it is a new season, it’s ‘win or go home,’” he said. “We have to remain focused and motivated and keep the same mentality that we had and just get things right in the first-round game Friday and take it game by game. No would’ve, should’ve could’ve.”
Villalobos shares that same determination and passion with the team.
“It’s very exciting. I don’t want the season to end,” he said. “I love these girls, they are amazing! This is something I have wanted to do for quite a while. Just to be in the position that I am at right now, in this great district, this is my second home and I’m enjoying every minute of it.”