Naples sweeps Vicenza to open soccer season
By STEVEN BEARDSLEY | STARS AND STRIPES Published: March 15, 2014
NAPLES, Italy — Picking up where it left off last year, defending girls soccer Division II champ Naples soundly defeated Vicenza 3-0 in a rematch of the 2013 title game on Saturday.
Play was more lopsided than last year’s meeting, with the Wildcats finding room to run, springing forward Isabella Lucy and Desirae Carpenter for breakaways in the first half and limiting Vicenza’s opportunities on the opposite end.
Lucy converted a penalty kick early in the first half after a Vicenza defender collided with her in the box to repel a break. Senior Ally Law found the net a little later after picking up a cross from Amilia Espiet, making it 2-0. Carpenter, a junior, scored late in the second half as Naples worked in front of the goal.
Vicenza was limited by the absence of its top attacker, senior Alex Frank, who was out with an ankle injury. Frank is expected to return soon, coaches said.
Naples showed good control and a fast attack, particularly the long-legged Lucy, who easily swept past defenders on both sides of the field.
Keeper Zakiya Folks was a bright spot for Vicenza, holding off frequent Naples attacks and showing a strong downfield boot.
Both teams are heavy with freshmen this year, and each returned about five regular players from last season.
Naples coach Rebecca Lucy said she was satisfied with the team’s performance, although she spotted a few early jitters.
“My takeaway is it always takes time to settle,” she said. “Once they found their groove, they looked good.”
Naples boys win 4-1
A speedy attack and solid defense helped the Naples boys win their first game of the season in their match against Vicenza.
Luke Ross came away with two goals — an open shot in front of the net around the 16th minute and another to finish a Naples counterattack later in the half. Ivan Altimaron also found net in the first half, as he beat a Vicenza defender attempting to clear the ball near the goal.
Wildcats wing Davide DiCostanzo set the pace early, motoring around Vicenza backs to create opportunities and pressure the defense.
DiConstanzo was instrumental in both of Ross’ goals, feeding him before the first and providing a well-placed header to spring the second. He scored Naples fourth goal from a free kick, clearing the wall, and the goalie, to find the upper left corner of the net.
Vicenza never found its footing pushing forward and was frequently stopped by a durable Naples defense, led by Matteo Pugliese. Its lone goal of the game appeared to be an own-goal.
For Naples, the win was a good start for new head coach Angela Griego. Griego said Saturday she thought the team was well-prepared but still needed to work on communication.
“We’re working on the teamwork,” she said, “because we’ve got some new people.”