VICENZA, Italy – Even though the Naples girls soccer team is short three star athletes from last year, it bought plenty of talent Saturday up north for the season opener against Vicenza.
The Wildcats, who haven’t lost a game in three seasons, used 18 of the 20 players they brought in a 4-1 victory.
“I think when we have a strong bench and they’re able to change and work with each other – we win,” Naples girls coach Rebecca Lucy said. “And they did!”
“Today was about creating opportunities – we dominated the first 15 minutes,” Vicenza’s girls coach Arric Alicea said. “But we went away from it and lost.”
Vicenza’s Alexandra Frank, assisted by Tatiana Miranda, grabbed the first goal with less than 10 minutes on the clock.
Naples’ Amanda Ortega evened it up 10 minutes later with the assistance of Gabriella Arce.
Two more goals followed before the end of the first half. Isabella Lucy, the only All-Europe player on the roster for the Wildcats from a year ago earned the second goal.
Tyler Treat, a freshman, scored the final two goals for Naples. The first came minutes before the half and the second, minutes after.
Kylie Beltz and Montana Bieder commanded the Naples defense limiting Vicenza to one shot on goal in the second half.
“They were very organized in the back and it worked for them,” Alicea said. “That is what I’m trying to build.”
The Naples boys weren’t quite as successful, but earned a 1-1 split with Vicenza.
“It’s the first game these guys played with a new coaching staff,” Naples assistant coach Enzo Cianciaruso said. “The team is at a growing level and this is about growing together and getting better.”
With Naples down one starting player and Vicenza down four for various reasons, both teams weren’t at full strength.
Naples’ Davide DiConstanzo headed in the first goal minutes before the first half ended.
Down by one, Vicenza’s coach wanted to ensure his players stayed focused on what they had practiced.
“It’s our first game out, all I want is some good pressure, control and some goals,” Roland Sturk said during a halftime speech.
Vicenza did just that, with added pressure on the ball and better control of it on offense.
Marco Peruzzo scored from about 20 yards out to tie the game.
“It’s our baseline game and we can build from that,” Sturk said, “And I’m happy with a tie”.