2011-12-16 / Sports

SFDS D Girls Hold Off BT To Win CYO Peewee Title

By Bill Dunn


The SFDS champions: Back Row: Coaches Bill Dunn and Lauren Urban. Middle Row (from left): Molly Murtagh, Katelyn Gillen, Hannah Skammel, Kate Hughes, Margaret Murray, Shannon Neiswenter. Front Row: Beth Dunn, Jillian McCabe, Noelle Carey, Lauren Koenig, Sydney Urban, Kate Roventini, Maggie Murphy, Kathleen Walker, Bridget Rose and Kate Savastano. The SFDS champions: Back Row: Coaches Bill Dunn and Lauren Urban. Middle Row (from left): Molly Murtagh, Katelyn Gillen, Hannah Skammel, Kate Hughes, Margaret Murray, Shannon Neiswenter. Front Row: Beth Dunn, Jillian McCabe, Noelle Carey, Lauren Koenig, Sydney Urban, Kate Roventini, Maggie Murphy, Kathleen Walker, Bridget Rose and Kate Savastano. Veterans Day this year was a cruel reminder of how quickly the seasons can change.

So with the CYO soccer season winding down it was the two local rivals, St. Francis de Sales D team and Blessed Trinity, playing for Girls Peewee Championship; the top two seeds during the regular season. With the wind howling and the sun slowly setting, an arctic chill blasted through the air like so many late autumn days. One solitary moment awaited a hero to decide the fate of an entire season.

As the two sidelines prepared for a possible shootout, the coaches wrote down the five names of the players whom everyone believed would decide the winner in an anxiety filled game. The first overtime was much like the latter part of the second half with each defense smothering any potential scoring opportunity. However, there was one lone player for the St. Francis team waiting for the ball to “find her” as she parked all alone in front of the Blessed Trinity goal.

As the first five minutes of overtime ended, the ball never arrived. As the second overtime started and with the wind now at their back, St. Francis kicked the ball deep into the left corner with Blessed Trinity deflecting it over the back line for a corner kick. Now, there was just four minutes remaining before the penalty kicks.

The corner kick produced no results as the Blessed Trinity defense blocked the attempt, again over the back line. Corner kick number two also didn’t produce much as the defense once again thwarted the initial crossing pass; and then it happened. During the battle for the ball deep in the Blessed Trinity zone the ball finally squirted through and passed the defenders. What happened next was as if appeared in slow motion.

The one girl who showed the patience and discipline to stay in her position found the ball on her foot and proceeded to take a shot that was heard around the Rockaway Peninsula as a deafening roar erupted from the St. Francis sideline.

With just over two minutes remaining in the second five-minute overtime, Shannon Neiswenter scored a goal that was ultimately the game winner. In a game that was one for the ages, the St. Francis de Sales Peewee Girls narrowly escaped with a 2-1 victory over Blessed Trinity to repeat as Diocesan Champions.

After a scoreless first half and with momentum swings not for the faint of heart, the game looked like it turned in the second half in favor of Blessed Trinity when they opened the scoring at the five minute mark. With the wind at their back the Blessed Trinity girls stormed down the right side where Sabrina McCarthy blasted a shot from 20 yards out and over the head of the St. Francis goaltender with what originally appeared to be the only goal of the game.

But as the clock wound down the St. Francis girls kept coming back and although they could not get many quality chances in the offensive zone, the big break they needed came when Sydney Urban was tripped up in the middle of the field and was awarded a free kick from about 25 yards away from the Blessed Trinity goal. Urban saw an alley down the left side and her shot along the ground found its way to the back of the net for a 1-1 tie with just 14 minutes to go in regulation.

The rest of the game saw dominant goaltending from both teams as Molly Murtagh of St. Francis and Shannon Beissel of Blessed Trinity coolly kept the ball from entering the net and out of trouble.

Defense was a big part of the game and led by Beth Dunn, Kate Hughes and Kathleen Walker, St. Francis prevented any real flow for Blessed Trinity as time and time again they smothered the potent Blessed Trinity offense.

All game long Noelle Carey gave a monumental effort pushing the ball down the field for the St. Francis girls causing havoc in her path. Lauren Koenig did heroic work making plays into open space and setting up scoring chances.

The strong effort of Bridget Rose kept the Blessed Trinity girls off balance throughout. Katie Roventini played a tough game constantly winning the one on one battles for the ball. Katie Savastano provided terrific ball movement to get the ball up the field.

The outstanding forward play of Jillian McCabe and Maggie Murphy relentlessly drove the ball deep into Blessed Trinity territory putting pressure on the goalie all game. Hannah Skammel consistently moved the ball down the field and away from trouble. Katelyn Gillen provided a spark pushing the ball through the Blessed Trinity defense and Margaret Murray displayed her speed in challenging for the ball all over the field.

Congratulations to the St. Francis girls for showing how a team can pull together, stare down adversity, and win a championship in such a dramatic way.

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