Alyssa Iannuzzi's goal makes Massapequa state champion
CORTLAND, N.Y. - A bus filled with excited soccer players and a state championship plaque returned to Massapequa. A few hours later, a bus filled with excited soccer players and a state championship plaque returned to Massapequa.
Earlier Sunday morning, before those buses rolled back into town, Alyssa Iannuzzi rolled out of bed.
"When I woke up, I sat there hoping I would score a goal,'' she said. "Luckily, it ended up being the goal that got us a state title.''
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Which means it also sent that second Massapequa bus back down the interstate, champions and hardware in tow. Iannuzzi scored the winning goal to lift Massapequa to a 2-1 victory over North Rockland in the Class AA state final at Cortland University. The win came shortly after the Massapequa boys soccer team captured a state title of its own in Middletown.
The Chiefs were awarded a free kick after Kim LiVecchi was tripped just outside the box. Mackenzie Palmer sent a free kick from the right wing to the middle of the box, where Iannuzzi flicked the ball into the back of the net with 8:02 to play.
Defensive center-midfielder Olivia Stegner opened the scoring with her first goal of the season. Kristin Muir served in a corner kick that was volleyed until Stegner, stationed by the front post, one-touched a rebound into the net for a 1-0 lead with 12:46 left in the first half.
"My main thing this season was that I wanted to score once,'' Stegner said. "It's so exciting to be one of the goal scorers in a game like this and make an impact.''
Katie Hatziyianis made five saves, including a key stop with just over two minutes remaining. Off a throw-in, she punched away a chip shot to preserve the one-goal lead and ensure that she and fellow senior co-captains Nicole Mahin and Taylor Kugler would be state champs.
"They were putting a lot of pressure on me and I just kept my head in it,'' Hatziyianis said. "To come out with a state championship in my senior year is the best feeling in the world.''
So it was a double banner day in Massapequa as the boys captured their first state title and the girls won for the fifth time.
"It's like making history,'' Iannuzzi said. "Now both of us are taking a title back to our school. It's a dream come true.''