By Matthew Ondesko, Managing Editor Photos: Simply Moments Photography
If you ask Williamsville East High School’s Emma Scalione how many goals she scored last season she will tell you she doesn’t know. That’s pretty amazing considering the now sophomore had a pretty impressive freshman season.
Scalione stepped right in last year and didn’t miss a scoring beat as she tallied 17 goals and added eight assists. Now bad for someone who was playing her second year of varsity soccer. As a freshman was on point for most of the season. She teamed up with Bella Buscaglia (12 goals, 14 assists) to form a deadly one-two pouch at the top of the Flames’ attack.
Scalione stated that maybe not knowing how many goals she had throughout the season actually helped her. She just continued to play her game, and took the chances that were given to her.
“I wasn’t really surprised until after the season, I didn’t even know how many goals or assists I had during the season because it didn’t really matter to me as long as the team had success and we continued to win,” stated Scalione. “I think that not keeping track of my goals really helped me. Going into each game I just had one thought in mind, scoring goals to win that current game or trying to set up other people to get goals. East has a lot of players that can score, so I never felt like it was all on me. Taking it one game at a time made life easier and less stressful for me.”
Scalione like many girls on the Will-East team, and in Western New York, Scalione is a product of the Western New York Flash. The Flash is the premier travel soccer club in WNY, and many of their players go on to play Division I soccer.
One of the main reasons for the success of the Flash and Scalione is that they play in the ECNL. The competition in the ECNL is top notch. Every game a player has to be at their best to be able to compete and make a difference,
Also, the coaching at the Flash is some of the best. The coaches do a great job of making the game fun, and teaching what a player needs to be successful at the same time. For Scalione being able to play for the Flash has just heightened her game, and expectations.
“It’s a really cool experience to play for the Flash. Every practice I improve because I’m playing with the best players in WNY, and the intensity at practices is very high. It’s extra cool when I get to play against some of my friends on other high school teams,” stated Scalione. “Playing in the ECNL is a great experience, and it has helped me in many ways. The ECNL is full of all the best players in the country, and being able to play against other amazing players all year really helps improve you as a player. The ECNL has also introduced me to the college recruitment process, and will help me to play soccer at the collegiate level.”
With all the success she has had early on, Scalione still needs to work on things. One of the big things Scalione needs to work on is staying on the field. Last season Scalione missed five games due to injury.
Injuries occur all the time and Scalione is till trying to figure out what works for her body and what does it. When she does pick up little nicks here and there, Will-East coach Chris Durr does a great job of limiting the players in practice so they are ready for the games.
This summer Scalione took some time to herself to make sure her body was healed and ready to go for the upcoming grind of high school and Flash soccer. While the break was only two weeks, it still was enough to get her ready to go.
“I still haven’t quite figured out how to prevent injuries. I’ve missed a portion of both of my high school seasons due to injuries. This past season I missed five games. When it’s something minor Coach Durr is really good at limiting us during practice so we are ready to play on game day,” stated Scalione. “’I’m working with a strength and conditioning coach three times a week this summer, and I run on my own to stay in shape. I also go up to East to play around on the turf with my friends. It’s always hotter up there, so I’m pretty used to playing in the heat. The key is making sure I’m hydrated before I play.”
You would think scoring 17 goals in a season would be a good year, but for Scalione she still isn’t happy. Like most goal scorers, she is more upset over the misses than they makes. She has been training a lot to make sure she is in better position to score the goals, or to pass it off to a teammate that can just tap it in.
“Right now, I probably miss more than I score - but I keep working hard to become more consistent,” stated Scalione. “It’s a lot of repetition and practice. I continuously practice shooting and having people cross the ball to me to help work on my finishing out of the air. It’s a work in progress.”