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She’s Baaack! Liotine Scores as Girls’ Soccer Downs Port Jeff

October 21, 2010

The best dynamic duo in Stony Brook girls soccer history is whole again as Donna Liotine returned to action this afternoon, and no one may be happier than her partner Michelle Hennessy.  For most of the season Hennessy has carried the burden of the offense as potent threats Liotine and Kelsey Wentling succumbed to injuries.  Her play has been brilliant as her 21 points and 16 goals place her at #12 and #6 on Long Island (#5/#4 in Suffolk County).  So as Liotine stepped onto the pitch for the 1st time since September 22 the Port Jeff defense could not focus on one eminent scoring threat this time around.  It was as though Hennessy and Liotine had not missed any time together as they combined for 4 goals in a 5-2 victory over their crosstown rivals.

1st Half

It was a cold and windy afternoon and early in the match Port Jeff seemed to be the beneficiaries of the gusty conditions.  A number of deep balls were played into our half, giving the Royals several early scoring opportunities.  The home team summoned some Senior Day magic as the Royals found the back of the net 10 minutes into the game.  The Bears may have been caught off guard having beaten this same team 2-0 a few weeks ago, but they did not show it as they ratcheted up their attack and began to put some shots on net.  Both Hennessy and Liotine had early goal chances and narrowly missed knotting the game.  With 23 minutes left Hennessy ripped a great shot on a breakaway, forcing the goalie to make a brilliant, instinctual save to keep her team in the lead… for a few more seconds at least.  On the ensuing corner kick Brianna Stiklickas put a great ball into the box and Hennessy headed the ball out of the keeper’s grasp and into the net to tie the game.  However, drawing even did not galvanize the Brook as Port Jeff continued to play a more aggressive style of play.  They won nearly every ball in the air, did a better job clearing the ball and displayed a greater sense of urgency on offense which led to a second goal less than 3 minutes after Hennessy’s header.  Despite another surprising setback to our normally stalwart defense, the girls never capitulated and climbed back into the game.  With 13:05 left in the half it was Hennessy who once again answered the call for the Bears, as she has so many times this season, by striking a gorgeous shot from 20 yards that sailed over the keeper and into the right side netting for her 2nd score of the match.  With 1 minute remaining Liotine struck a beautiful direct kick from 30 yards, but the Port Jeff netminder was equal to her challenge. | 2-2

2nd Half

Coach Mark Maningo’s final words to the girls before they took the field for the 2nd half were, “Ladies, don’t make this their day.”  The Bears responded to their coach’s admonition with a solid performance over the final 40 minutes.  The Royals spent much of the first 15 minutes on their heels as the Bears repeatedly threatened.  Then, with 22:24 remaining, Liotine rifled a shot from a nearly impossible angle near the right goal line, past the 3-time All-State keeper and into the nylon for the game-winning tally.  But the fireworks were far from over.  With 17:16 to play Mikaela Stiklickas and a Royal defender inadvertently collided in a play that happens a dozen times over the course of most games.  However, much of the Port Jeff contingent saw the play differently and began inexplicably calling for a red card, when no card was warranted.  One parent, whose daughter was injured in the play, threatened the referee and was ejected from the field.  The benign play set off a firestorm as the Port Jeff parents, players and coaches berated the officials with heckling and profanity any time a Stony Brook player made any contact with a Port Jeff player.  The heated atmosphere was unsettling and one that could have easily spiraled out of control.  As these off the field issues materialized a 1-goal game still had to be decided.  In a tight battle it was the Bears who decisively grabbed the momentum with 15:50 left.  Gianna Scavo served a beautiful cross into the box that the goalie could not control as the ball glanced off her fingertips.  She fell to the earth and tried desperately to possess the ball, but Emily Andersen tucked the ball past the line for a 4-2 lead.  The Royals never relented and with 2:20 to go Danielle Pappas made a fantastic diving save, then sprung up in time to make a second point-blank stop to keep the Royals off the board in the 2nd half.  The final tally came with 1:47 remaining when the Brook capitalized after the Royals sent their whole squad, goalie included, up for a corner kick.  Pappas saved the ball and gave a great outlet pass to Hennessy who fought off a defender grabbing a fistful of her jersey, eventually hitting a 25 yard shot that bounced past the keeper who could not get back in time.  It was a bizarre and chaotic match but the girls had to be pleased with the result. | 5-2

Michelle Hennessy had three goals with one assist for Stony Brook (8-2).  Donna Liotine’s goal made it 3-2 in the 62nd minute and Brannon Burke added two assists.  Emily Andersen also scored a goal, and Danielle Pappas made seven saves.

~ Newsday

Impressions

Seeing Donna Liotine back on the field was the most gratifying part of this win.  The reigning New York State Player of the Year looked like her old self as she controlled the middle of the field, gave great touches to her teammates and struck heavenly shots on goal.  She did not seem tentative in the least, something that should make Class C very nervous as the playoffs rapidly approach.  Overall the team did what they had to do today.  It was not a pretty game, the conditions were not ideal and the atmosphere surrounding the match was toxic, yet the girls fought through the adversity as they have so often this season and came out with the win.  The defense was a bit shaky in the first half and the communication could have been better, but they buckled down in the 2nd half and turned in a vital clean sheet over the final 40 minutes.  The girls currently stand at 8-2 and finish the regular season next week vs. Mercy (10/26) and @ Ross (10/28).

Box Score

  • Hennessy | 3 goals/1 assist
  • Liotine | 1 goal
  • Andersen | 1 goal
  • B. Stiklickas | 1 assist
  • Petersen | 1 assist
  • Burke | 2 assists
  • Pappas | 1 assist/7 saves

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