“We are looking forward to the challenge of Smithtown Christian and plan to play to our strengths,” said coach Shirlee Davis. “We hope to be competitive and play strong defense against a team that is usually quite fast and skilled.
“Each time we have faced Smithtown they have been formidable opponents so we take nothing lightly. [Smithtown defeated Manor in 2007 and 2009 in the regional semifinals].
“It is a long drive on a school bus but we are hoping for good weather and the opportunity to play quality soccer. The team has been practicing diligently and hope as always to be the team that gets the win.”
Smithtown Christian finished its season 7-5-1 with all five losses coming against Class C or B teams. In fact, Smithtown lost twice to Port Jefferson and once to Stony Brook, two Class C teams now facing off in the Section XI playoffs. Smithtown’s other loss came to Class B Babylon, another Section XI playoff participant.
“We’re looking to get back to the state finals,” said Smithtown coach Steve Chandler, referring to 2010 when Smithtown lost in the championship game. “But every year is different and every team is different, so we just take each game as it comes.”
One of Chandler’s biggest challenges in preparing Smithtown for Saturday’s game has been assembling a full team for practice. Smithtown was closed for eight days following Sandy and then got belted with six inches of snow on Wednesday.
“It’s been hard,” said Chandler. “Some girls still don’t have power and are having trouble getting to practice.”
Smithtown, which is only 40 minutes from Dowling College, is led by Gennifer Vandeventer, who scored 17 goals and 29 points on the season, fifth best in Section XI. Teammate Rebecca Giancana has scored four goals in her last four games.
“They’re our top scorers, but really the whole team has a propensity to score,”said Chandler. “It’s a well-balanced team.
A year ago, Smithtown lost 1-0 to Section IX’s John A. Coleman in the state regional final.