Late Goals Seal Lady Dolphins Comeback Win
With time winding down in the second half of the girls' soccer season opener, Erika Villamarin saw her chances for personal redemption fading fast on a cool and blustery afternoon,.
The Beach Channel Lady Dolphins were just minutes away from disappointment. But after scrambling to tie the game at 1-1 against the visiting Springfield Gardens, Villamarin, who had earlier missed a golden opportunity to tie the game, got her chance.
With less than two minutes remaining in the game, Villamarin broke past a defender and dribbled down the field alone.
The senior then pulled up six feet away from the opposing net and slid the ball underneath goalkeeper Maricia Joseph for the winning goal as the Lady Dolphins secured a comeback 2-1 victory last Tuesday.
The home team had done plenty to create scoring chances and was by far the better team. But Beach Channel failed to capitalize and Amanda Bernard would score the goal to give Springfield Gardens a 1-0 lead in the 23rd minute of the second half.
But the Lady Dolphins started their comeback when sophomore Shanice Williams scored a left-footed goal in the 35th minute to tie the game at 1.
The stage was then set for Villamarin to seal the late game heroics with a goal that shocked her.
"I didn't know I scored. I just remembered kicking the ball. I thought she had it and I realized she didn't have it. Then she (teammate Shanice Williams) said you scored. I said what?!" Villamarin said.
There were tears in Villamarin' eyes at first but eventually she would flash a smile. To her teammates delight, the senior made up for missing a wide open net against the Golden Eagles goalkeeper a few minutes earlier
"I was just hoping I get another chance," Villamarin said. "I said I was not going to miss it."
The almost miraculous circumstances of the Lady Dolphins comeback win also shocked new head coach Dominic Stanco on the sidelines.
Stanco has had success guiding the boys' soccer squad to the PSAL B championship last fall before losing to John Adams. When he took over the girls' team, Stanco had no idea that his first game as the girls coach would etch an indelible memory in his brain.
"I had no idea what I was in store for..," Stanco said. "It's a whole new thing dealing with the girls. But I'm extremely proud of them and just like the boys; it's almost the same philosophy."
"They never give up. These girls do not give up. It's impressive. I love it. I love the feeling."
Taking over a squad who went 9-3-1 last spring in the Queens B VI Division and lost in the first round of the playoffs, Stanco thinks this year's team has the talent to strive for higher accomplishments.
Stanco and the team have quickly struck a good rapport so far and that's why he thinks the team can fulfill his goal of winning a division title, which the Lady Dolphins have fallen short the last two years to John Adams.
Their three regular season losses in 2007 all came to the Spartans.
"These girls are passionate and they listen to what I say. I've always told them to listen to what we tell then and they can take it to the next level. These girls are a big group of believers," Stanco said.
Once they learned how to put the balls consistently into the net according to a joking Stanco, he thinks his team can make things very interesting.
"I have a lot of seniors on the team. I have 8. The seniors are happy that a coach like myself and my assistant Akoto (Osei Akoto) can step in their senior year and help put this program on the map starting today."