JFK girls looking to further success in 2018

When the season started for the John F. Kennedy Eagles, there were no real expectations with first-year coach Kayla Zoccole. Now, that has completely changed after just one year.

The Eagles girls soccer team finished 12-4-1 last year and made a district semifinals appearance before they ended their season. This season is about making sure last year wasn’t a fluke.

“I have very high expectations for this season, with my returners now knowing what I want and need of them I expect them to be leaders and pave the way for a successful season,” Zoccole said. “We surprised people last season and will surprise even more people this season.”

The Eagles return nine letterwinners from a year ago, with five seniors. Those include all-state junior Alexa Chieffo along with second-team all-district players Myriah Merten and Caitlyn Condoleon. The Eagles sported eight players who made at least the honorable mention in the North Coast League.

Alissa Scattino was first-team all-league while Naomi Herman was a second-team all-league player.

“My returning players are amazing,” Zoccole said. “They have all stepped up tremendously. Seeing their progress from last year to this year is amazing. I couldn’t be prouder or more excited to take on every team this season.”

The team lost to Rootstown, 2-0, in the Kent District last year. The Eagles want to go deeper in the postseason this year.

“I think this Eagles team is going to achieve much more than we did last year,” Zoccole said about their success. “I have so much faith in these girls. We are a family and are going to do amazing things this year.”

Zoccole credits their playoff win over LaBrae and loss to Rootstown for the fire that has been lit within this team.

“It helped set the tone for this season and started a fire in us to achieve more this tournament season,” she said.

Beyond that, changing a team’s look is always tough and Zoccole knows what has been done so far.

“Not a ton of changes have been made since getting the job except that I have a team of 14 girls all on board,” she said. “They are willing to do whatever it takes to win for me and our team. We were able to get some more gear this year and are gonna look very nice matching for practice and games.”

For Zoccole, all those things play an important role in this team’s success.