Featured Story

Girls Soccer: For Riverhead’s Re, no amount of goals is ever enough

Since Alexis Re lost two years of school soccer because of the COVID-19 pandemic and a failed school budget, she didn’t make her varsity debut with the Riverhead girls soccer team until last season. Despite that, she still struck for a team-high 25 goals.

How does she feel about that accomplishment?

“I think I could have done better last season, but that’s always me, like I always want to improve and I always want to do better,” she said.

In other words, Re isn’t easily satisfied. She has an unquenchable thirst for scoring, and no amount of goals is ever enough. She always wants to do better. Perhaps that is why she is such a good player.

And, make no mistake, she is good. Real good.

Re already has nine goals and one assist to her credit through six games, the latest goal coming in a 4-1 road loss to Centereach Tuesday at Dawnwood Middle School.

It doesn’t take long to see what makes the junior forward such a force. Start with exceptional foot skills, a relentless work ethic, a powerful shot and a nose for the goal.

“I’ve just never seen anyone match her footwork,” said Riverhead coach Kasey Mandery, who has coached for 12 years at multiple levels and is in her first varsity head coaching post.

“She draws a lot [of attention] from the other teams. The other teams put a lot of pressure on her and that’s pressure on Lexi to try to, you know, stay focused and work hard, but she always does. Every game she goes out and plays the full 80 minutes without ever stopping, without ever coming out. She’s very reliable and she’s a great role model for younger girls.”

Re is the centerpiece of a rebuilding team that mustered only three wins last year and didn’t have a junior varsity team to draw from (this year it does).

Re took eight of Riverhead’s 13 shots against Centereach, connecting with 24 minutes, 37 seconds left in the second half. After collecting a ball from Carlie Morgan, Re moved toward the middle and fired a right-footed blast that goalkeeper Sarah Esposito got a piece of, but not enough to prevent it from splashing into the net.

 Riverhead goalkeeper Tori Arm making one of her 11 saves. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)

By then Centereach (2-1-2, 1-1 Suffolk County League II) had already put in four goals. Three of those came in the first half. Victoria Timo expertly headed in a cross from Emma Sigault on the game’s first scoring chance. The second goal came through the air, too. Lauren Hoppe, assisted by Grace Lien, found the mark. Sadie Truocchio made it 3-0, swatting the ball in after Riverhead failed to clear the ball in its penalty area.

Dana DelValle drilled a right-footed laser inside the far right post in the second half. Hoppe assisted.

The score would have been more lopsided if not for some nice second-half saves by Riverhead’s Tori Arm. Perhaps the best of Arm’s 11 stops was her reflex save of a Timo header in which the junior goalkeeper swatted the hard shot over the crossbar.

“She should be proud,” Mandery said of Arm. “She’s grown a lot.”

Riverhead’s Kenia Anariva Bonilla went down with an injury with 22:59 left in the game. The senior was driven off the field in a cart to the team bench area. She stood and walked gingerly, apparently favoring her right leg. The extent of her injury was not immediately known.

“We’re looking for little victories,” Mandery said of her team, which is 2-4, 0-2. “We’re trying to become a program. We’re trying to build community.”

Ellie Cammarota, a freshman forward who played middle school soccer last year, has five goals to her credit this season. She said playing alongside Re has made her a better player.

Cammarota said Re, who captains the team along with Lauren Zaweski, is a “very good team player. She is very motivational and she likes to keep the team together and working together and I just like playing with her.”

On scoring a goal, Re said, “I want more.”

You never can have enough, right?

Asked about her start to the season, Re said: “I’m feeling good about it, but like I said, I just want to keep doing better, but not only for myself, but for the team and the program as well. So it’s not only about me, it’s about just like for the program as well.”

Maybe satisfaction is right around the corner. Maybe.