2006-10-20 / Sports

Rain Doesn't Stop Stella Maris Soccer Victory

By Elio Velez

The rain, wind and cold created a monsoon type atmosphere on a Tuesday afternoon at Fort Tilden. On that gloomy day, the Stella Maris Lady Flippers soccer team's spirit could have been as dank and dark as the skies were that day.

Yet 30 minutes before gametime, the Flippers weren't hiding for cover. They were laughing and joking in the swirling rain, playing an old school hand game of Rockin Robin before their matchup with Bishop Ford.

Not afraid of the rain splashing on them and the muddy Fort Tilden playing field, Stella Maris won an important Brooklyn/Queens CHSAA matchup with two goals in the second half to win 2-0.

"It's the worst we played in all year but we had fun doing it .We had fun in the rain," said a smiling Michelle Raaf, who scored the first goal for Stella Maris. The rain created huge mudpatches throughout the Fort Tidlen pitch as both teams sloshed through the first half scoreless.

Seven minutes into the second half, Stella Maris' midfielder Elizabeth "Bitsy" Murray passed the ball from midfield to a streaking Michelle Raaf. She fended off two defenders and slid a shot past the Ford goalkeeper to make it 1-0.

Two minutes later, Raaf kept the ball alive outside of the Bishop Ford goal area and sent a cross pass to Kacie Stone, who tapped in the ball for an insurmountable 2-0 lead.

"We got pumped up and we needed to win this game," Raaf said. It's my senior year, we want to make the playoffs and we feel we got a good shot to win it all. We have a lot of heart and we give it all every game. We give it 100%."

Head coach Eileen Martin missed the playoffs in 2005 for the first time in her four years at Stella Maris. The former Adelphi University player knows her team, including eight seniors, won't be happy missing out on another chance to make the playoff.

Numerous rainouts last year canceled games and because they couldn't be made up, the Flippers went home. She believes this year's squad has bonded well, especially as the seniors lead the charge to secure a playoff berth with three games left in the season.

"Throughout the time this season, we've done a lot of better. There are some games we could have won but unfortunately we didn't. But this team is playing well and they're playing up to my expectations of what I thought they'd be," Martin said.

She also believes in a team concept and no one player is valued higher than another. With three games remaining, Martin is adamant that the team does not forget what good they have done in having a 6-4 regular season record.

"My girls have come out with determination this year and they have high expectations for themselves. They all stand out to me," Martin said. "Everyone plays a role on the field."

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