For the second straight season, the Long Island Rough Riders women’s team was plagued by inconsistency.
When the Rough Riders were on, they were unbeatable, but when they were in a rut, it was hard to get out of it.
After opening the season with one win and two losses, Long Island rattled off three straight victories in impressive fashion. The Rough Riders outscored opponents 10-0 during that stretch, defeating New Jersey Copa FC 2-0 on May 22, Rochester Lancers 2-0 on June 2 and Worcester Smiles 6-0 on June 5.
In an unfortunate reversal of fortune, Long Island suffered an equally lopsided losing streak over the next three games, being outscored 9-1. The Rough Riders lost 2-0 at Lancaster Inferno on June 15, 2-1 against the Inferno in the return match four days later, and 5-0 at Syracuse DA on June 29.
Long Island needed to beat Syracuse DA in the regular-season finale in order to qualify for the East Conference semifinals and did just that, winning 3-1 on July 6. The Rough Riders were unable to keep their winning streak (and season) alive, losing 3-0 to New England Mutiny and finishing the year at 5-6-0 overall.
“After our last game I told the team that our season ended exactly the way it started,” head coach Karim Diallo said. “Inconsistency was the theme of our season. From the first game to the last I never really had the same lineup to start a game. It’s tough to have something consistent going that way. We had quality, a lot of it, but we could never really put it all together because we were never all together at the same time at most practices and games.”
Player inconsistency was evident across the roster, especially at goalkeeper. The Rough Riders suited up four different players between the pipes: Shannon Gray (five games), Melissa Guglielmo (three games), Alana Olivieri (two games) and Jenna Borresen (one game).
The Rough Riders were able to adjust to a different face in net during their three-game win streak with Gray, Guglielmo and Olivieri each recording a shutout but couldn’t sustain that same success.
Kayla Saager and Grace Hawkins led the team offensively with four goals apiece, while Kim Marra and Kerianne Scorce each added two.
“It was a very frustrating season,” Diallo said. “I believe we missed an opportunity to go all the way because of an ever-changing roster due to a variety of reasons.”
BY: Michael LoRé