The Mattituck High School varsity girls soccer team has known Liz Lasota primarily as a defensive player, but it wasn’t always that way for Lasota. Before playing at this level, Lasota routinely played as a forward or central midfielder. Now, as the four-year varsity player prepares for her upcoming senior season, she is getting reacquainted with the other end of the field, and she likes it.
Lasota, who split her junior season at sweeper and central midfield, has been getting a look at forward with the Tuckers’ summer league team.
“To be honest,” she said, “I was put on defense for so long that I just want to go up and score goals.”
Because of work commitments, Lasota hasn’t played much with the Tuckers this summer, but she did make an impression Tuesday in her third appearance with the team. She scored twice — her only two goals of the summer — as the Tuckers closed out their Town of Brookhaven Summer League regular season with a 3-0 shutout of the Rocky Point Eagles at Diamond in the Pines in Coram. It was a must-win game for the Tuckers (3-5-2), who need help in order to reach the playoffs. They left the field Tuesday night not knowing whether they would have a playoff game on Thursday or not.
Lasota took five shots, tying her for the game-high with teammate Lauren Guja, and scored a goal on either side of halftime in the 60-minute contest.
It’s still uncertain what position Lasota will play this fall.
“Liz is like the major utility player,” Mattituck Coach Ed Barbante said. “She started off in the back as a sweeper. Then she moved to center mid. So, she might be a forward. I don’t know. Nothing’s etched in stone yet.”
With her speed (Barbante said Lasota is one of the fastest players on the team along with Nicole Zurawski) and the ability to shoot with either foot, Lasota has shown she can play up top and give opposing defenders trouble. If Lasota is asked to be more of a scorer this year, well, that’s just fine with her.
“I love it,” she said. “I just love like being able to try and score because I feel I have more of a rage to want to go and score.”
Lasota opened the scoring in the 21st minute, putting away a ball from Alex Berkoski, the first of Berkoski’s two assists. Goalkeeper Cheyenna Hoffman got a hand on the ball, but was unable to prevent the hard shot from flying into the net.
The second Lasota goal made it 3-0 with 1 minute 51 seconds left in the match. Lasota latched onto a through ball from Guja and showed composure in finishing.
“It’s a good feeling,” Lasota said afterward. “It’s a really good feeling.”
It was the first time that Barbante, who missed five games this summer while away on a honeymoon, had seen Lasota play this summer. He liked what he saw. “She looked very good today,” he said.
Sandwiched in between the Lasota goals was a nice strike by Shelby Britt in the 44th minute. Berkoski laid off a ball for the junior, who found the right corner of the goal with her left foot.
“You can’t draw a more picture-perfect goal than that,” said Barbante.
The Tuckers looked good. Goalkeepers Abigail Graeb and Stephanie Reisenberg were so well-protected by their defense that neither needed to make a save. Mattituck outshot Rocky Point by a 12-1 count, and the Eagles (3-7) didn’t get their only shot until Whitney Owensby hooked a free kick wide to the right of Mattituck’s goal in the 51st minute.
The Tuckers are considerably changed. They lost 13 seniors, including some eight starters, from the team that walked off the field for the last time following a 1-0 loss to the Center Moriches Red Devils in last year’s Suffolk Class B final at Diamond in the Pines. That means more than a few positions are up for grabs. “A lot of positions are available,” said Barbante.
One of them could very well be won by Berkoski, a junior forward who underwent back surgery at the end of last season.
“She’s very smooth on the ball,” Barbante said. “She’s very confident with the way that she plays the game. She doesn’t overdo things. She simplifies the game.”
And then there is Lasota, an all-county player who would undoubtedly be an asset at just about any position.
Lasota plays on the front line for her club team, Sound Beach Barnsley, and has worked on things that a forward needs to, such as making different runs and creating space for herself.
You know, just in case.