As we continue our top 20 preseason rankings, coming in at No. 16 are the Golden Flashes from Sayville. They are one of the many teams in Suffolk Class C that are in contention to win the counties and appear in the LIC. Last year they had a 14-3 record, but fell short of the LIC after losing in the county semifinals to Shoreham Wading River. This year they’re looking to get right back in the postseason and win their first county title since 2014. Head Coach Adam Sznitken is excited about the combination of their youth and returning upperclassmen. “Looking forward to the youth talent mixing with the talent of our returners”, Sznitken said to the LILJ.
Beginning at attack, they are without 2022 graduate Bella Graziano, but return three upperclassmen in Taylor Hoss, Kelsey Restivo and Anna Meserve. Hoss, the Hopkins commit is in for a huge 2023 season after posting 26 goals and 15 assists as a junior. She can play both on and off ball and brings extreme skill and deceptiveness. The combination of Restivo and Meserve combined for 31 points last season.
The notable difference between last year and this year is how their midfield will be constituted. With loss of 2022 graduates Brigid Manning, Jordan Messina, and Ally Reilly, replacing players of their caliber doesn’t come easy, but Sayville will look for players like McKenna Farrell, Abby Galaris, and Sophia Buffardi to fill their shoes. The upperclassman Farrell enters her junior year and is committed to Marquette. Galaris comes back after getting varsity experience under her belt last year as a freshman, and Buffardi is one of the game’s bright, young midfielders in the class of 2026. As just an eighth grader Buffardi played impactful minutes and was tied for second on the team in assists with 13.
Statistically Sayville had a defense that was top notch in Suffolk County, allowing only 5.5 goals per game. Current UPenn freshman Nasha Yajadda was a big part of that, but the return of division I commits Courtney Thornton (Jacksonville), Loghan McNamara (Albany) Delaney Lutz (Lafayette), and Olivia Redden (Jacksonville) will lead what they hope will once again be a very formidable defense. As for the goaltending they will be looking to replace last year’s senior Jess Harclerode. On the roster last season was eighth grader Juliana Lilienthal who could possibly get an opportunity as the starter.
Playing in the deepest conference on Long Island presents a lot of challenges on their schedule this season. Before they even begin league play they open up with a non-league game against William Floyd on March 22nd. Some of the marquee Class C matchups against teams that will be fighting for top seeds include Bayport (3/28), Westhampton (4/11), Shoreham Wading River (4/25), Mt. Sinai (5/1), and Rocky Point (5/3).