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Credentials: A two-time Varsity 845 Player of the Year, Salatto anchored an offense that scored 92 goals. Many teams have keyed on her with two, sometimes three, players defending her and yet she scored 26 goals and 16 assists in 21 games. She plays intense defense and has the ability to take over games. Salatto is able to move around the pitch, winning the ball in the midfield and getting the ball up to the forwards and then getting involved in the attack. She scored in the regional finals against North Rockland with a rocket from 25 yards out to extend the lead to 2-0.
Monroe-Woodbury’s Salatto repeats as Varsity 845 Player of the Year
December 21, 2019
Varsity 845 All-Stars: Girls soccer, second team
December 21, 2019
Highlight: In the state championship locker room before the game, coach Bill Mpasiakos was talking about a scene from the Rocky movie, which is like one of his all-time favorite movies, and he knows them word for word. A lot of the girls were crying in the locker room, which is surprising because we still came out on top. He got emotional, too.
Best advice: Mpasiakos always has so many quotes. Before every game he always has a new one he gives us. He had a good one, something about a butterfly? Great moments come from great opportunities.
Favorite soccer player: Tobin Heath. She’s really fast on the ball and she has really quick foot skills.
The future: Salatto is going to Iona College, and will play soccer.
Position: Center midfielder
Credentials: Rusek has been the leading scorer four years in a row. She scored 18 goals and tallied 12 assists her junior year and 13 goals, nine assists her senior season. Rusek is an impact player. She has athleticism, technical ability and a high soccer IQ. Rusek is a dangerous finisher, intelligent playmaker and technical defender and attacker.
Highlight: Our senior night game when we beat Cornwall, 3-2.
Best advice: Always push past all the obstacles you have to climb over and overcome anything you’re going through.
Favorite soccer player: Julie Ertz. She’s one of the most versatile women’s soccer players in the world and she’s an all-around great person.
The future: Gabi will attend the University of Miami, and will play soccer.
School: Valley Central
Position: Center back defense
Credentials: Palczewski was a captain this year. She is a great communicator and organizer, is a positive presence on the team and is highly respected by all with her effort, toughness and skill. She is very good in the air and has a great first touch. What really makes her excel is her ability to read the game and anticipate. She had three goals and three assists this season.
Highlight: Going to the Section 9 finals for the first time.
Best advice: My mother, Deb Palczewski, has always told me to never give up. It was always in the back of my mind to make the Section 9 finals. When it happened, it was a great feeling.
Favorite soccer player: Rose Lavelle. I like her quickness and how she distributes the ball. She controls the middle of the field on the U.S. Women’s National Team.
The future: Grace will return for her senior year at Valley Central.
Position: Attacking midfielder
Credentials: Sorce posted 17 goals and 10 assists this season. She puts tremendous pressure on opposing teams and has excellent speed. Sorce stepped up when one of the team’s top scorers, Liz Allen, suffered a season-ending injury. Sorce helped limit opposing teams to seven goals in 21 games. She scored five goals and two assists in five playoff games, including the only goal in the state championship game.
Highlight: Scoring the game-winning goal in the state finals. It felt amazing. Actually, it was probably the best moment of my whole varsity soccer career.
Best advice: My coach is always encouraging me to shoot the ball and attack and be really aggressive and I think I worked a lot on that this season and it paid off.
Favorite soccer player: Alex Morgan. I’ve always loved her since I was really young, just the person she is.
The future: Sorce plans to continue her soccer career. She has not yet chosen which school she will attend.
Position: Center back
Credentials: Bauer led a defense that averaged allowing one-third of a goal per game and had 16 team shutouts. She constantly stops attacks or counterattacks with her superb defense She was also the top corner taker on her team. Bauer had six assists this season. She leads a defense that only gave up two goals to Section 9 opponents.
Highlight: Just going to practice every day and taking bus rides with my team. The team definitely is the best part.
Best advice: Our coach said to play each game like it’s our last because when we were in the playoffs, we never knew which game was going to be our last.
Favorite soccer player: Alex Morgan. I think she shows a lot of heart on the field and she’s a team player all around.
The future: Bauer will attend SUNY Cortland, and play soccer.
Credentials: Fini, a four-year starter, has been integral in both state title runs for Monroe-Woodbury. In four of five playoff games this postseason, Fini did not allow a goal, including the state Class AA final.
Highlight: Definitely the feeling of winning the state championship two years in a row. We knew we wanted it the whole season and we worked hard for it the whole season. It definitely would have been a letdown if we hadn’t gotten it.
Favorite soccer player: I’ve looked up to Tobin Heath since seventh grade. I just admire her and her work ethic and how she got to where she is.
Best advice: Coach Mpasiakos told us, “Once you think you’ve arrived, you’ve hit your peak.” So basically never stop working and never stop trying to make yourself better.
The future: Fini will attend Siena, and play soccer.
Position: Defensive midfielder
Credentials: Harwood’s presence as a defensive midfielder has helped shut down many strong competitors. She posted three goals and three assists. Harwood has caused offenses to alter their plans with her ability to stop attacks and counterattacks. She has a unique ability to pick players off the ball as they attack with her superb foot skills. She is also a part of the defense that gave up one goal off a corner in five playoff games.
Highlight: Beating North Rockland in the regional game to send us into the Final Four. We were expecting it to be a really hard game and then coming out of the game 3-0 was really unexpected and just knowing we had another chance to repeat. I was the most confident that we could repeat after that game.
Best advice: The advice from previous seniors is to take everything slowly and to really appreciate every moment because it goes by so quick. I didn’t believe them until now. I definitely appreciated the season more because of that advice.
Favorite soccer player: My sister, Sydney Harwood, who plays soccer at Manhattan College. I look up to her and she motivated me to get where I am now.
The future: Harwood will attend Marist, and play soccer.
Position: Center back
Credentials: Harvey was named Player of the Game in the state championship. She is perhaps the fastest center back in Section 9 and has run down many attackers, including a crucial one in the final game. Her speed and ability to stop would-be goals was a major reason why the Crusaders surrendered only seven scores all season.
Highlight: In the final game, a girl had a breakaway to score and I did a slide tackle and stopped her.
Best advice: During the state playoffs. We were losing hope and coach Mpasiakos told us to never stop believing because you never know what could happen.
Favorite soccer player: Julie Ertz because she’s really aggressive and I admire that about her.”
The future: Harvey returns as a senior on a Monroe-Woodbury soccer team that will be attempting to win its third consecutive state title.
School: James I. O’Neill
Credentials: Hill can defend, pass the ball with assurance, has a powerful left and right foot and also can break into the area to score important goals. She is a defender’s nightmare and can dribble at a pace that makes it very difficult for players to mark her. Hill had 13 goals and 11 assists and led the team to an overall record of 14-4-1 with an undefeated league record of 8-0, a repeated sectional title and a Class B regional final appearance.
Highlight: Getting to play my last year with my sister, Amaya. I’ve never gotten to play with her that much and being able to play with her every game and going to practice with her every day, I wouldn’t want to end my senior year any other way. It was fun getting to spend my last year with her before I go off to college.
Best advice: Coach Kristin Leska told us a lot about not giving up, even when against Pleasantville when we were down 4-0 in the locker room. She told us, “The game’s not over. We’re not playing to our potential and even with the 4-0 loss, you should just keep your heads up.”
Favorite soccer player: Crystal Dunn. She plays every position. She gives her best in everything. She started out as a forward and now she plays left or right back. She’s amazing. She gives 100 percent in everything she plays.
The future: Hoping to attend West Point.
School: James I. O’Neill
Credentials: Hill is one of the most skillful and punishing forwards in Class B and led the team with 34 goals and three assists. She is quick and very hard to handle on the counterattack. She has sublime finishing skills, making her an efficient goal scorer. She scored four goals in the sectional final game against Rondout Valley. This is Hill’s second time on the Varsity 845 All-Star team.
Highlight: Winning sections again, especially with my sister Alyssa since it’s the last year of us playing soccer together. It just made it that much more special.
Best advice: Coach Leska, in our last game against Pleasantville said to just leave it all on the field because you never know when it could be your last game of soccer.
Favorite soccer player: Lionel Messi, just the way he sees the field. He loves using his teammates and that just inspires me.
The future: Hill will be a junior at O’Neill.
Credentials: Harris is an amazingly strong soccer player who can set up a teammate to score as well as finish a delivered pass. She finished the season with 16 goals and 12 assists. She is a six-year varsity player. In her four years in high school, Harris has amassed 57 goals and 42 assists.
Highlight: It was my senior season. It was my fourth year as the captain. My coach is great. It was just a fun time working with all my teammates.
Best advice: My father, Pete Harris, told me to have fun with the sport and to make sure you’re playing with heart.
Favorite soccer player: Marcus Rashford. Just the intensity that he plays with, it’s great to see.
The future: Brooke will attend Lewis University (Ill.), and play soccer.