Norton's goal gives Sayville win over Rocky Point
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Coach Patti Fedelem called it "the prettiest goal I've ever seen!''
Teammate Olivia Russell said, "It was amazing. I just wanted to hug her for it.''
And to think, Zoe Norton was certain her shot was wide when the ball left her stick.
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Good thing for Sayville that it was only Norton's estimate that was off target.
The forward scored the winner as the Golden Flashes edged host Rocky Point, 2-1, Tuesday night in Suffolk Division III field hockey.
"That was a gut-wrenching three seconds,'' Norton said of her reaction to the shot. It wasn't quite three seconds, but "it felt like that. I was just watching it roll and I was like . . . ''
She gasped. As did many of her teammates on the sideline, before erupting in cheers.
Norton received the ball in the far right corner and drove into the circle, dribbling left and right around three defenders before drawing a crowd near the right post. She flicked a shot that rolled along the goal line before hooking inside the far corner with 10:35 remaining.
Rocky Point's Jenna Sanossian had tied it at 1, smacking a one-timer from Ashley Faulhaber with 13:27 to go.
The Eagles cleared five penalty corners in the first half, including two diving stops by Olivia Accardi (nine saves). Sayville thwarted two breakaways and stopped three corners in the final minutes, twice on steals by Sam Cascardo. Annah Murphy had five saves.
Justine O'Reilly's goal, off a rebound, gave Sayville a 1-0 lead with 18:29 left.
"The goal is always to play hard and with passion for 60 minutes," said Cascardo, whose disruptive defense forced several turnovers, "but there was a little extra motivation in this game."
Both teams deemed this contest a "must-win." In early October, not literally. But the realignments and rejiggered playoff structure in Suffolk cut the Class B bracket in half, permitting only four seeds. Which means some of the postseason usuals will be left out. Sayville and Rocky Point, who both entered at 5-3, are among several teams vying for a berth.
"We desperately needed this, especially since they beat us the first time,'' Russell said, referring to the Golden Flashes' 2-0 loss to Rocky Point last month. "We're a different team now, and you could tell from the intensity.''
Some of that could be attributed to the teams' history. Sayville topped Rocky Point in the 2011 county final, and last year, the Eagles beat them in the semis.
"We had to have it and we got it,'' O'Reilly said. "That drive Zoe had was awesome, and the shot was just perfect.''
And, if you ask Norton, unbelievable.