An instant classic, by sports definition, means a game or season that immediately will go down in history as one of the best.
A Scranton Prep Classic, by girls soccer definition, means Elana Falcone.
The senior midfielder and Jenkins Township resident just finished off a brilliant career with the Scranton Prep Classics. That career came to a halt when Prep was eliminated from the PIAA Class AA girls soccer championships recently against Trinity, 2-0.
But the list of accomplishments for Falcone doesn’t end at a state playoff loss.
Her accolades include an admittedly unexpected 2011 Times-Tribune Player of the Year, a 2012 All-Region selection and a three-time Lackawanna League Division 1 first-team all-star selection.
In 2012, Falcone scored four goals through the District 2 tournament, eventually helping the Classics to a second straight title. She assisted teammate Jacquie Graham’s goal in a historic school win over Northwestern Lehigh in a PIAA game.
But that was just the beginning.
In 2013, Falcone led the Classics to a 9-0 win over West Scranton in the Lackawanna League Division 1 title. In that game, her hat trick gave her the school’s scoring record. That was back on Oct. 14.
Since then, Falcone has been all business. The Classics won their third straight District 2 title with a 3-1 win over Dallas. Falcone scored two goals in the win.
But when you ask Elana about her greatest accomplishment at Prep, it’s all about the process. As a freshman, the Classics lost in the district title game. As a sophomore, they won it. In 2012, Falcone’s junior year saw a state playoff win — so did 2013.
“Building every year,” she said. “Year after year to have a solid team, it’s impressive in high school soccer. Sometimes, you fade away. We’ve had four solid years. It was a good way to end.”
The Classics, after defeating Dallas, beat Blue Mountain, 8-3, in the opening round of the state playoffs.
“The thing that separeted us this year was our passing,” Falcone said. “We like to pass. We weren’t a kick and run team and we build up to that one goal — a patient team.”
Falcone’s high school career is impressive. But her laundry list of successful soccer is much more than a scholastic one.
For the past few years, Falcone has been a member of the Albertson Fury, a team in the Elite Clubs National League. Under coach Paul Riley, coach of the Long Island Fury of the Women’s Premier Soccer League, Falcone has flourished.
“He’s an unbelievable coach,” she said. “He’s the best at any ordinary practice. The simple drills are just unbelievable.”
But juggling soccer throughout the entire year is a difficult task, said Falcone.
When she’s not playing soccer, she’s thinking about soccer. And when she’s playing soccer, she’s at her best.
“It is hard handling so much,” she said. “But I made the commitment to this sport and this is what I want to do. Soccer is my life.”
Falcone will continue her soccer career at the next level. She committed to Temple University in the summer. The Owls finished their 2013 campaign with a 3-0 loss to Southern Methodist University in the American Athletic Conference tournament recently.
Temple finished the season 6-12-1 (1-8-0 in the AAC).
“When I committed to Temple, I knew they weren’t near the top of the conference,” Falcone said. “The most important thing to me is building a program. And I think I can fit right in and do whatever the coach wants me to do.”
Falcone will be stepping in on the struggling Owls under first-year head coach Seamus O’Connor. O’Connor has seen Falcone play, and it’s not just what she brings to the team on the field that has him excited.
“Moving to this conference, we’re now all over the country,” O’Connor said. “So we try and recruit ladies that represent Temple and Philadelphia in the right way. Personality-wise, she has a good attitude and hates to lose.”
Temple struggled offensively in its first year in the AAC. O’Connor said the defense was sharp, but he always looks for the player who has a full skill set like Falcone’s.
“It’s kind of like boxing,” O’Connor said. “You keep jabbing, but you need a knockout punch. She has the ability to score with any part of her body. Elana is one of those girls that is an impact player. She’s going to be so valuable to us.”
Falcone is currently ranked as the No. 11 player in the state of New York - she’s classified in New York because her ECNL teams is located in Long Island.
Elana is a daughter of Atty. and Mrs. Sam Falcone Jr. Her mom is the former Sue Ruda. She has two sisters: Tianna, a freshman at Misericordia University, and Angelina, a seventh grader at Holy Rosary School. Both are also soccer players.