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HS girls’ flag football: Susan Wagner shut out all four postseason foes en route to third title in four years

By Nick Regina |

Susan Wagner did not surrender a single point throughout the entire postseason, shutting out all four of its playoff foes, including Saturday’s championship challenger DeWitt Clinton, 13-0, at Aviator.

For the Falcons, who outscored opponents 100-0 during the playoff run, it is their second consecutive crown, and third in the last four years.

“These girls deserve this trophy,” said SW coach Bashkim Pelinkovic. "Since March 1st, we have put in the days and hours and it has paid off. While many other teams take off on weekends or enjoy the spring, these girls don’t.

“They spend that time working on the things that got us here,” he added.

Jillian Degeorge’s (79 passing yards/35 rushing yards) 11-yard touchdown strike to Sabrina Yakush (5 receptions/35 yards) in the first half proved to be all the offense necessary for the Falcons -- and the defense made sure of it.

Once again the theme, SW nabbed four interceptions, including Diana Halili’s 35-yard return for a score in the second half -- Lauren Persichetty picked off a pair of throws, boosting her season total to 22 interceptions in 16 games, while Julia Catella hauled in another.

Amina Muratovic got to the opposing quarterback three times, while Yakush and Gianna Pantina teamed for 12 flags.


Pelinkovic’s club was on a mission, and it began before the season even kicked off -- when Tottenville and New Dorp were chosen by the PSAL ahead of Susan Wagner to compete in the inaugural Florida vs. New York challenge.

“The girls have had something to prove since the preseason," acknowledged Pelinkovic. “They were offended, as was I, that we weren’t invited by the PSAL to participate in the Florida vs. New York games. Every game they started with the same reminder.”

Nevertheless, Pelinkovic lauded his club’s demeanor and persistence in getting after it.

“I’m fortunate to have a group of girls that believed in each other and the daily game plan," said Pelinkovic. "They executed the plays and always went the extra step. They refuse to quit and never wanted to let their fellow teammates down.

“In addition to the girls, I was surrounded by an assistant coach that helped us stay in task,” added Pelinkovic. “Gavriel Kislak was crucial to the defensive success, he called the right scheme at the right time.”

Pelinkovic also credited Janielle Liangsiri, Alaya Shaarawy, Chantal Brown, Nicole Baerga, and Rachel Greenstein for the team’s success on the offensive side of the ball throughout the season.

The Falcons will set their sights on a fourth crown in five seasons when the next campaign rolls around, though they’ll have to do so without nine members from this year’s championship squad.

“I’m sad to see many of my players moving on, they will be missed,” said Pelinkovic. “Yakush, Pantina, Halili, and Alexis Crescitelli were an obstacle for every opponent and refused to give them a yard without working for it.”