Center Moriches prepared for tough task at states

Center Moriches girls varsity soccer head coach Lea Center Moriches girls varsity soccer head coach Lea Brady watches her team against Babylon. (Nov. 9, 2012) Photo Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

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You won't find the girls of Center Moriches soccer in the list of scoring leaders, their wins have hardly been blowouts and, at 5 p.m. on Saturday at SUNY-Cortland, they will play in the state Class B semifinal against No. 2 ranked Marcellus, which beat them the last time they went upstate, in 2010. This year, Marcellus has outscored opponents 132-12.

Did we mention that the way Center Moriches is going, it may not matter?

"We know they're strong offensively and we've definitely prepared," coach Lea Brady said. "We're defensively prepared. We're going to be marking up and we're defensively sound. We are prepared for any given situation."

The Red Devils (13-5) do indeed have a formidable task going up against Marcellus, which has beaten its last two playoff opponents a combined 9-2, but thanks to back-to-back thrilling victories and an airtight defense, Center Moriches makes the trip to Cortland with a sky-high momentum and a who-will-it-be-this-time cast of possible heroes.

On Saturday, that honor went to Pam Schenck, who scored the winning goal on an assist from Claire Brady with 22 seconds left in double overtime to lift the Red Devils over Wheatley for the Long Island championship. On Nov. 1, it went to Megan Ricci, who made two diving stops in penalty kicks, allowing Emily Fey to score the winning PK over Babylon in the county final. Let's not forget Casey Luongo, who scored with two minutes left in regulation to force OT.

But while the big goals do matter, the deciding factor may just be the girls whose names don't end up in the scoring summary. "It's our back four," Brady said. That would be Alexandria Krauss, Christina Schumchyk, Catherine Ringhoff and Catherine Nolan (whose name actually does appear in the scoring summary quite a bit).

Despite three previous trips to the state semifinal, Center Moriches has never won the title. To do that, the Red Devils will have to solve Marcellus (19-1-1), which unseated No. 1 Schalmont, 2-0, in the first round of the playoffs, and which currently boasts stud sophomore midfielder Madi Belvito, who had two goals and an assist against Saranac last week.

The last couple games "show that these girls are ready to play a full 80 minutes-plus," Brady said. "They're able to stay composed and it's a great sign of character."

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