2006-11-17 / Sports

St. Francis De Sales Soccer Opens Playoffs With Nine Wins

Compiled Reports By Paul King

After a wildly successful regular season, St. Francis got the "second season" off to a flying start with wins in nine playoff games, including a 4-0 slate against the powerful Our Lady of Hope teams.

The biggest win against Hope was an astounding come-from-behind victory by the 5th grade girls.

St. Francis' novices fell behind 3-1 in overtime against the defending Diocesan champion but rallied to tie with two goals in the final three minutes before prevailing in a shootout.

When SFDS stumbled twice in the fourth minute of overtime, the crowd was ready to leave them for dead. But our girls fought on.

Lorianna D'Alessandro, who had tied the game at 1 with five minutes left in regulation, scored off a mad scramble of shots, saves, rebounds and blocked clearing attempts to pull St. Francis within 3-2. Then, with 15 seconds remaining, Meaghan King saved the ball at the right sideline and SFDS moved the ball all the way to the left side of the box where a wide-open Samantha Scaccia blasted it home as time expired.

In the shootout, Therese Boyle, Daisy Trusttum and Meaghan scored on consecutive shots. When Daisy corralled Our Lady of Hope's fourth shot, the champs were eliminated.

St. Francis would never had made it to overtime without the strong play of its backline of Ginna Davan, Casey McDade and Anna Charles, highlighted by Casey's goal-saving play that was worthy of Sports Center. When a Hope shot bounced over our goalie, Casey raced along the goal line, leapt high and chested the ball to Anna just before it crossed the line.

Immediately prior to that game, the 6th grade girls played an unbelievable semifinal against Hope.

girls had a little guidance from Erin Blum's soccer angel.

Hope, a physical team, did not stop de Sales. Lisa Pulkoski was tripped in the box which led to SFDS' first goal. Megan Lacognata saw the opportunity and blasted the past Hope's goalie. Jenna Hoffman, Lauren Perrone, Marissa Scotto, Kelly Casey, Jessie Boland and Lisa did an awesome job keeping the ball in Hope's end. Erin Blum topped it off with a shot from the 18-yard line that caught the top corner. Sales defense was on fire. Brianna Hart, Catherine Murphy, Emily , Lynn Rayder Kristin Henschel and Regina Paskoff would not let Hope into the 18-yard box the whole second half. Goalie Jennie O'Hara had her game face on, letting no one near her net. This week's soccer idol went to the entire team.

The 5th grade boys advanced to the finals, too, after a very exciting game against Hope.

The match was very even.

Both teams played very well defensively, so the game was scoreless until well into the second half. Unfortunately for Hope, one of their players touched the ball with his hand in the penalty box.

The penalty shot was called.

The goalie didn't have much chance against Joe Kennedy, although to his credit he managed to graze the ball with his hand. The score was 1-0 for St. Francis and remained so until the end. All the boys played very well, but special acknowledgements should go to our goalie Yaroslav Khanas who executed a few very crucial saves. What's even more important is the sportsmanship of the Hope team and their parents. Not only did they play a very clean and fair game, they also congratulated our team after the match and genuinely wished us good luck for the finals. Congratulations boys for getting this far and good luck!

In what is sure to become a seasonal event, the two 3rd grade girls' teams played on Saturday in a clash of Titans. Despite having records (Gold 5-0-1, Blue 4-1-1) that should have guaranteed both teams a shot at the finals, the two teams were thrust together in the first round to repeat their tie game during the regular season.

With the two teams emphasizing different styles -footwork and positional play by Gold, strong kicking and long passes by Blue- the girls put on an exciting display of soccer. Exceptional defense by both teams led to a scoreless first half. For Gold, hustling stopper Allie McGuire back up by Gabby Breen and Jackie Gallagher prevented Blue's transition from defense to offense while fullback Morgan Koenig and goalie Chelsea Filippi made some key plays to stop Blue breakaways. Blue's defense repeatedly cleared out the ball with big kicks by Meghan LaSorsa, Rodina Abdelmoneim, Lauren Peters and solid goaltending by both Emily Carlton and Kelly Davan to stop Gold's pressing attack.

The Blue team, capitalizing on its expertise with the fast-breaking, kick-and-run game, scored early in the 2nd half when offensive threat Kathryn Gibson put the ball in the back of the net. Gold soon tied the game when sure-footed Teresa Gallagher dribbled the ball through the defenders and scored with help from Hayley Urban and Shannon Rochelle, resulting in a tie game at the end of regulation time.

Despite excellent play by both teams in the two, five-minute overtime halves, neither team was able to create a scoring situation and the girls began their first shootout to determine the winner of the closely contested game. Kicks by the first five players for each team failed to break the tie. Up sixth, Veronica Welsh put the ball in the net resulting in a Gold victory when the point went unmatched by the sixth Blue kicker.

This season the girls played two full games and an overtime period and were only separated by shoot out goal in the sixth round.

The coaches and parents congratulate all the girls on their hard work and the sportsmanship they displayed all season.

The Blue team looks forward to supporting their friends on the Gold team in this Saturday's championship game.

The 3rd grade boys won their semifinal match against Assisi, 1-0. It was an exciting match, with the single goal scored by Dillion Beehler off of a corner kick by Matt Paparelli. The Assisi team had several shots on goal during the first half, but the wind was against them and helped the SFDS defense. The wind seemed even stronger in the second half, but St. Francis was able to hold on to its lead. The boys are thrilled to be headed to their first championship game.

The 4th grade girls advanced into the finals after a well played 1-0 win versus Sacred Heart.

Taylor Vegh's goal with ten minutes remaining was the difference.

Sacred Heart's coach, Virginia Blair, should be commended for having players on both sides take time out before the game to honor the Veterans with the Pledge of Alliance, a prayer, and player introductions.

The 4th grade boys (South) started their first round of playoffs with a 5-0 win against St. Margaret's. Joe Brown was on target with two goals. The team kept the pressure on throughout the game. Anthony Scotto with his one touch scored the third goal. Jimmy Howard connected for the fourth goal off a pass by Max Frankel. Kevin McDonagh finished it up with the final goal. The strong defense of Kevin, Michael Tammaro, Michael Newman, Tom Morgan, and John Stewart made it easy for goalie Aidan Morgan.

The 4th grade boys (North) and 6th grade boys also advanced to the semifinals. The 4th graders topped OLBS 3-0 while the 6th graders blanked Hope 2-0.

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