The girls’ varsity soccer team from Frank Sinatra High School of the Arts in Astoria, battled all former Division A teams in the Division B playoffs to respectfully finish off the season with a 1-0 loss to the No. 1 seed in the semifinal game.
Freshman Dina Dres made 12 saves as goalie at Monday’s game on Randall’s Island, but Lab Museum United of Manhattan snuck a goal in despite Dres’ stellar performance for the win.
“It was an unbelievable run,” Frank Sinatra Legends coach John Billera said. “We worked as a unit and to see that actually come to fruition in games and especially in the playoffs, is amazing.”
Many teams dropped down a division this year because of public school athletic rules dictating a certain ratio of wins to losses to maintain the Division A ranking, Billera said. Those teams dominated their new division, Division B.
Nevertheless, the No. 13 seed Legends, who have always played in Division B, rose to the challenge.
In the last game of the regular season Dres made 18 saves to send her team to the playoffs. There they beat Herbert H. Lehman of the Bronx 4-0 advancing to the second round. The team then beat No. 4 seed Julia Richman High School of Manhattan 2-1.
The next game, the quarter finals, was much tougher. The girls squeezed out a 3-2 win versus Dewitt Clinton from the Bronx in double overtime.
“We had to take a gamble,” Billera said.
Billera moved the Legends’ top defensive player, junior Rachel Fink, to the front to get some offensive power. Fink faked out at least three defensive players to score the breakaway winning goal.
“It was like it was in slow motion,” Billera said.
The team is still young, with only three players graduating this year — a stark difference from last year, when they had seven seniors. Extra kudos go to senior Erin McGrath, Billera said, who grew from an average defensive player to a top-notch stopper.
Next year the Legends will concentrate on the mid-field players bringing the plays to the forwards for a more powerful offense.
“We have the talent, we just have to make things happen,” Billera said.