St.Francis de Sales Soccer Finishes With Golden Weekend
Rebounding from the previous weekend, St. Francis posted convincing victories in the girls' third, fourth and sixth grade championship games. Throw in the silver medals SFDS' seventh and eighth grade teams earned and it is safe to say St. Francis' girls were the tops in the Diocese this year.
The Third Grade Girls started the day off on the road hoping the "third time's the charm" against Our Lady of Hope, who won back-to-back 1-0 games against SFDS early in the season. The girls went to Juniper Park looking to turn the tables. In commanding fashion, the St. Francis girls shut down the Hope team from start to finish in a total team effort.
The St. Francis squad quickly took control of the ball and minutes into the game, Breanne McDonnell found the back of the net off a terrific pass from Kelly Ward. The goal was just the confidence boost the girls needed as they kept the ball in the Hope end of the field against the wind for the majority of the half.
When the ball did get in front of the St. Francis net, Jessica Buckley and Jessica Morelli made a number of key plays, thwarting Hope's few opportunities to score. But St. Francis knew that a 1-0 lead was not enough. Maddie McDade and Rebecca Boland were ferocious in midfield, chasing down balls and feeding themback to the front line.
At about the six minute mark, Katie Barret and Katie Marquardt performed the perfect give and go to put in the second goal to take a 2-0 lead. The team effort continued with St. Francis blocking any attempts by Hope to put one up on the board. Angelina Meringola in particular made a key save, knocking the ball out of bounds, preventing a Hope attack.
Hope seemed to catch fire with just minutes left in the game. Despite the tough defensive moves of Hannah Nicholson and Ashley Kelley, Hope was able to sneak one by the expert goaltending of Makayla Beehler. But it was too little too late, as the last minute ticked off the clock, giving St. Francis the Diocesan Championship in a 2-1 victory.
Each girl contributed to the win. On the forward line, Lindsey DeBoer, Megan Duffy, Taylor Slakman, Kelly Ward and Katie Barrett played the wing position expertly. Our forward line of Sinead Gallagher, Caroline Kelly, Kaleigh Gilroy and Katie Marquardt were amazing as they moved the ball continuously towards the goal.
In midfield, Claire Hughes, Breanne McDonnell, Rebecca Boland, Hannah Nicholson and Maddie McDade chased down plays on both sides of the field. The defensive line was relentless in crucial moments. Kerrianne Blum, Ashley Kelley, Sydney O'Brien, Angelina Meringolo, Jessica Morelli and Jessica Buckly each made plays which were key to shutting down the Hope offense.
And last, but not least, Makayla Beehler performed outstandingly in goal. Congratulations to one and all and especially to the many parents who withstood torrential rains, driving winds and freezing temperatures during this playoff run to be a part of this great day!
Next, the Fourth Grade Girls clinched their second straight championship with a 5-0 victory over St. Luke's at the frozen tundra of Fort Tilden. With the cold, wind, and temperatures just about reaching 30 degrees, the girls kept their minds on the challenge of gaining their second straight undefeated season.
The girls started off strong with three fast goals in the first half going against the wind. The scoring started with a tremendous pass from midfielder Lauren Marten to Courtney Mc- Cool, who dribbled about 10 yards past two Luke players. She then placed the ball on the foot of Maria Di Carlo who then took it to the right wing, gave it to Kelly "Elbows" Santiago who put the moves on two more defenders and blasted the back of the goal.
The other goals of the game were by Maria Di Carlo (3) who ended the season with a total of 19 goals, and Courtney McCool (1) who made a fantastic shot after being awarded a hand ball inside the 18-yard box. An outstanding game and season by all 27 players made it possible for the girls to bring home the title.
Every girl deserves kudos for her playing; Maria Di Carlo, Molly Breslin, Kelly Santiago, Devin Gavigan, Nicole Gibson, Lauren Marten, Courtney McCool, Mollie Kuhlmann, Paulina Ruta, Meghan Gigliello, Kaitlin Neiswenter, Megan Twomey, Gywn McGee, Victoria Stagnitta, Emma Meade, Lauren Moule, Carli Bopp, Alex Weigert, Jessica Rivera, Rose Fay, Colleen Gallagher, Ciara Smith, Taylor Tsatsis, Ava Evangelista, Bridget O'Rourke, Keira Walsh, and last but not least the phenomenal goaltending of Bridget Breslin.
And a special thanks to every parent and grandparent who made the trek to each and every game, no matter what the weather forecast was. Thank you from Coach Di Carlo and the girls.
The Sixth Grade Girls topped off this day of championships with a 2-0 win over Hope. Playing in the harshest conditions of the day, St. Francis controlled the ball for most of the first half despite playing against a stiff, frigid wind. In the second half, St. Francis was able to use its speed to strike for two goals and the Diocesan title.
On the rainy and wind-swept previous Saturday, the Seventh Grade Girls took the field as heavy underdogs against the powerhouse defending champions, also from Our Lady of Hope, to determine the this year's diocesan title holders.
The team from Hope came into the game undefeated, with two decisive wins vs. SFDS, 7-1 and 4-0. The SFDS girls sported eight wins, with seven of those wins coming via the 'shutout' route. So the game would match an outstanding offense vs. a tremendous defense.
The game started with the wind at Hope's back, a dangerous situation, but the SFDS defense stood tall. Goalie Gabbie Donofrio made several great saves, including one on a breakaway.
Devan Sconzo, Anna Charles, Stephanie Zwirn, Ginna Davan, Victoria Rivara and Raina Dziuk, who alternated at defense, deserve credit for fighting off wave after wave of Hope attacks.
Ultimately, though, Hope did breakthrough for one goal leaving the score 1-0 at halftime.
In the second half the SFDS girls had the wind at their back and went on the attack. The Hope goalie made several saves, with the most controversial coming about ten minutes into the half.
Therese Boyle blasted the ball from the left side and as the ball approached the goal it sunk. The goalie dropped down and ended-up sitting on the ball to save it, but the St. Francis girls all thought it crossed the line and began cheering. However, the referee waved the goal off and play resumed. That was the best chance St. Francis would get as the Hope defense stiffened and repelled all further attacks. Hope scored a goal at the whistle to make the final score 2-0.
The girls from St. Francis can hold their heads high, though, after a tense, well-played championship match and an eight-win season. The girls had to experience the combination of two teams and a 26-player roster.
A certain comfort level is attained when, as kids, you play with the same teammates for six years. So when you are mixed in with another team it can be a very challenging adjustment.
Throw in the fact that each player would see a reduction in playing time and one can imagine a difficult situation for the coach.
However, Sean Shevlin saw his team adapt to the changes and meld into one cohesive unit, and he ended up experiencing his most satisfying season as a soccer coach. All thanks to a great bunch.
HEADERS: The coaches renewed their post season tradition, playing a match on Sunday. The Rainbow team defeated the Red team 4-2. AJ Santiago (2), Ryan Hoffman and Marissa Scotto scored for the Rainbows. Alex Moule and Sam Said tallied for Red. No major injuries were reported. Signups for the spring Peninsula Cup league will be in early 2009. Happy Thanksgiving.