Dynasty! Girls’ Soccer Wins 5th Straight County Crown

Madison Rylands celebrates with Annie Skorobohaty after Annie’s goal tied the game with Smithtown Christian

The script seemed ideal for the Port Jeff girls’ soccer team.

After losing three times to Stony Brook last season, including a 1-0 double-overtime loss in last year’s County Championship, this was the Royals’ opportunity to repay the favor and end the Bears’ reign atop Class C. After defeating our girls twice this season by scores of 6-2 and 3-0, Port Jeff was the clear favorite in the third meeting. Add in that the Brook was missing senior leader Kelsey Wentling and its best defender, Madison Rylands, and the Royals’ name was all but etched onto the trophy. However, our girls’ youth prevailed, stunning Port, the #7 ranked team in Class C, and ending their quest for redemption in a 2-1 victory for the Blue and White.

In a roughly contested game, it was the diminutive Emily Pius who shone for the Bears. Her first half goal gave the Bears a 1-0 halftime lead, then, with the game knotted at 1-1 with 23 minutes left, her rocket from 25 yards provided the winning margin for a team that has dominated Class C for half a decade. Mikaela Stiklickas was monumental in goal, recording a season-high 18 saves.

But that was merely the falling action in the story of the 2011 Stony Brook girls’ soccer team. The climax happened on October 18 against Smithtown Christian, the #8 ranked team in Class D. A victory against the Knights was the only accomplishment missing from Mark Maningo’s coaching checklist. Even the 2009 State Championship squad mustered a mere tie against our local rivals, but this time the familiar plot jumped the tracks. Entering the game our girls were at a crossroads in their season. At 4-4 in league play, the Bears had already fallen to Class C adversaries Port Jeff and Mercy. The match-up with Smithtown Christian could either propel them forward or plague them with more self-doubt.

In the game of the fall season, the girls got on the board first when Gianna Scavo found the back of the net following a deft pass from Sydney Dunn. However, the euphoria was brief as the Knights beat our defense three times over the next 20 minutes to take a commanding 3-1 edge. Those watching knew that tying the high-octane Knights would be be a monumental task; to tie them before halftime would be miraculous, but a miracle is just what our girls engineered.

The Brook was far from deflated and showed the fighting spirit that would define the second half of their season. With 5:10 remaining in the half, Scavo struck again, this time on a majestic rip from 35 yards, to cut the deficit to 2-3. The fans were content to finish out the half and go into the break down just one goal, but the girls wanted more. Just over a minute later, the equalizer came when a big throw by Madison Rylands bounced over the head of a Smithtown defender, leaving Annie Skorobohaty the opportunity to one-time a shot into the top shelf of the net.

The second half was just as frenetic as Smithtown Christian took leads of 4-3 and 5-4, but our girls never capitulated, coming up with equalizers off the feet of McKenna Rylands and Morgan Pius that propelled the game into overtime. A penalty kick score by Scavo eight minutes into the first extra period gave the Brook a thrilling, 6-5 win.

The girls overcame three different deficits and five goals from the impressive Chelsea Bellini to earn their most important win of the season. Without this triumph, the girls may not have prevailed on Friday night against a team that outscored them by seven goals in two games this season. They proved that they could play with the elite teams in the league and, despite a slow start to the season, could still grasp a better fate for themselves. The 6-5 victory salvaged their season and allowed the girls to dare greatly.

With all but Wentling and Rachel King returning, this young group with limitless talent has an exciting future. This was the year to topple us. We were inexperienced, young, and vulnerable, but Port Jeff did not account for our courage and perseverance. Our young girls, tasked with keeping the dynasty alive, did not let the banner fall on their watch as Class C may have missed their chance to slay the giant.


This is the 39th County Championship in school history… Kelsey Wentling earned her fifth County Championship since making the team as an eighth-grader in 2007… With the win the girls moved up to #9 in the New York State Sportswriters Association Class C poll.



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