YONKERS, N.Y. - Saunders High School girls' soccer coach Carlo Mitrione is no stranger to success but this year's Blue Devils team has been one of his best, rolling to a 15-2 season before bowing out of the Section 1 Class A playoff semifinals.
"After coaching for the past 17 years, I could honestly say that the 2012 girls soccer team was the best team that I ever coached," Mitrione said. "I knew after the first scrimmage that we were going to be a great team. We had a good blend of younger and older players. I also believe that the sectional playoff victory against Nanuet was the school's greatest accomplishment on the soccer field."
The Saunders girls won their first 14 games, lost the regular-season finale to Hendrick Hudson High School, then topped Nanuet High School in the Section 1 playoff opening round before losing to Somers High School. The Blue Devils scored 80 goals and allowed just 16.
Amanda Smith led the team with 23 goals, Pamela Sanchez had 22 goals and Zhane Jacinto was the key playmaker, recording 18 assists. The Devils defense was consistent throughout the season in front of goaltender Sarahi Morillo has allowed just eight goals.
"The season was awesome," Smith said. "This team truly came together and we made a name for ourselves, and made history in Saunders High School. My senior year will never be forgotten thanks to awesome players and coaches."
Co-captain Jennifer Bustamante said the team was close throughout.
"The passion, dedication and endurance each girl had was reflected on the field.," Bustamante said. "We played with our hearts and had great outcomes throughout the season. It was a great season and experience for my senior year."
Co-captain Linette Prasad said her senior season was a lesson in dedication.
"I could not have asked for a better group of girls to call my team." Prasad said. "All the players bonded so well and the chemistry was right. Thanks to these girls and the dedication of our coaches, we were able to accomplish more than what was expected of us. This team made my senior year very special."
Assistant coach Joseph Zappia played at Saunders during his high school days.
"In my time as a coach and as a former Saunders soccer player, I have never been part of a more successful team" said Zappia. "The effort and overall play of the team as the year progressed was equivalent to a beautiful symphony. I am very proud of the team and will always look back on this year as an all time success."
In addition to Smith, Morillo, Bustamante, Prasad, Sanchez and Jacinto, the Blue Devils team comprises Gloriann Jaichon, Luz Garrido, Fernanda Uriba, Cinthia Sarmientos, Daritza Herrera, Ana Guzman, Wendy Condado, Allin Jacinto, Margaret Kenny, Chontal Garrido, Elizabeth Cruz, Evelyn Marin, Betzaida Blanco, Stephanie Mazzei, Nicole Perez, Joann Heady, Karina Gonzalez and Rebecca Jean- Baptiste.