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Heroic Effort Helps Girls Sweep Knights

October 3, 2014
Skorobohaty puts the Bears up 5-1 (Photo credit: The Incomparable Bruce Jeffrey)

Skorobohaty puts the Bears up 5-1 (Photo credit: The Incomparable Bruce Jeffrey)

Look out, Class C.

The girl’s soccer team is starting to hit their stride. This afternoon they turned in their best performance of the season, despite missing the services of four key starters, as they topped Smithtown Christian, 5-1 on a warm afternoon on Fitch Field.

1st Half

In their previous match-up the girls needed a furious comeback to turn a 0-3 halftime deficit into a 5-3 victory. This time around the defense kept the Knights at bay for the first half, but the offense was unable to generate many meaningful opportunities. Their best chance came with three minutes remaining in the half as Annie Skorobohaty carried the ball deep into enemy territory before being spoiled. Likewise, the Knights had few scoring opportunities and the time of possession seemed to be an even split with the Knights controlling the ball for much of the first twenty minutes and the Bears forcing the issue over the final twenty. The squads went into the half firmly deadlocked at 0-0, seemingly bound for a tense second half of play. | 0-0

Second Half

After a scoreless first half, it took just four minutes for the Bears to find the back of the net as Dahlia Cyrille scored on a free kick for a 1-0 edge. Eleven minutes later Skorobohaty, who played brilliant soccer all day on the right side, gave a perfect cross to Emma Lavery to give the Bears a 2-0 cushion. The relief was short-lived, however, as Smithtown scored just three minutes later. Goalkeeper Linnea Piazza made a great stop on a free kick, but a Knight forward was ready and waiting for the rebound, which she tucked away to halve the deficit. Three minutes later Smithtown forced another tough stop from Piazza and it felt as though the onslaught would be interminable, but the Bears snuffed the rally and absolutely dominated the final nineteen minutes of play.

Play was restricted to Smithtown’s half of the field for nearly the entire rest of the game, thanks to the brilliant backfield play of Cyrille, Sydney Dunn, and Hannah Haverty and the extraordinary hustle of Lavery and Laura Reeve at the midfield. They were an impenetrable wall that allowed our forwards to keep ceaseless pressure on the Knights’ defense. After several empty chances, the Bears finally broke through when Ella Simons scored an unassisted goal off of a botched goal kick with just eight minutes remaining. With that goal the game was all but sealed, but the scoring barrage was far from over.

Two minutes later Simmons struck again when she carried a beautiful ball from Skorobohaty into the box and fired a gorgeous strike into the top shelf of the net, with a defender right on her hip. It was the second time in five days that Simmons, an eighth-grader, scored two goals in the second half of a game, accomplishing the same feat on Monday vs. Pierson.

To cap off the second half cannonade, Skorobohaty added a goal to go along with her 3 assists, firing a shot over the right shoulder of the keeper after receiving a pass from Elsa Crozier. | 5-1

Notes

The girls’ play today elicited only pride in those that had the privilege of watching them. Down four starters, everyone needed to rise to the occasion and the heroes were plentiful. Piazza turned away five shots today and showed more confidence in goal than she has all season. She has been thrown into the fire this year, having been asked to play a position in which she has little experience, but she has shown tremendous growth and today was another big step for her.

The defensive trio of Cyrille, Dunn, and Haverty were spectacular. They did not misplay a single ball today against an aggressive offense. Dunn seemingly won every single ball on the right side of the field toda; the right forward was completely stymied and taken out of the game. Dunn was also instrumental in frustrating the Knights’ offense by clearing a number of dangerous balls. Haverty, playing in her first game in two years, was sensational. Coach Mark Maningo said after the game that she didn’t missed a beat. She was a starter when she injured herself two years ago, and he said it was like that same player stepped onto the field today. He was merely hoping to break her back into game-mode. That he got eighty minutes of outstanding soccer from her was a revelation.

Lavery and Reeve were the motor that kept the team going. They controlled the middle of the field and allowed the Bears to transition quickly from defense to offense today. Skorobohaty and Simmons were dynamic up front, more than filling in for the potent duo of Morgan and Emily Pius. Coach Maningo complemented Simmons after game, simply saying, “You belong here.” High praise.

The most exciting part of today’s victory was that the team’s championship DNA came through. When they play with the type of focus and determination they displayed this afternnon there are few teams that can outplay them for eighty minutes. Every girl who stepped on the field today from Erin Morrison to Efosa Enoma to Esther and Rebecca Lee, showed tremendous hustle and grit. It is impossible to pick an MVP from today’s game.

Picking the LVP is a lot easier. It was most assuredly the gnat colony that decided to erupt this afternoon, shrouding Fitch Field in a cloud of buzzing insects. Players, coaches, fans, and referees were left swatting incessantly at the pests. A thriving community of gnats inhabited my left eye for the final ten minutes of the game. They were in the midst of erecting a post office when I finally dislodged the lot of them.

*     *     *

The girls look ahead to a busy week next week with games against perennial Class B powers Babylon and Mattituck, culminating in a Friday night Homecoming game against Port Jeff.

 

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