High School Girls Soccer

Newsday.com covers the beautiful game on Long Island with our high school girls soccer blog.

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Mike Gavin

Mike Gavin joined Newsday in November of 2007 and spent nearly two years doing box scores while patiently awaiting his big break. That came when he was assigned to do the highly-popular Ducks Watch, a weekly interview with a member of the Long Island Ducks. The high school sports staff then took him in as one of their own and he has since covered girls soccer, boys basketball and other miscellaneous sports.

Mike graduated from Stony Brook University with a major in business management and a minor in journalism. He is known around the office as the “Wild Card,” but prefers that you don’t ask how the nickname originated.

Manhasset's Erin Barry and Clarke's Madeline Anderson trade goals in tie

Catilin Russell had a feeling it was going to be her team's lucky day.

"We were lining up to do sprints before the game," the Clarke defender said, "and a bird pooped on my head. That's good luck!"

While the game-tying goal did take a lucky bounce through traffic, it was mostly the skill of Madeline Anderson that helped Clarke earn a 1-1 draw with Manhasset in the Conference A-II girls soccer opener for both teams.

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Nicole Russell sent a perfectly placed corner kick into the box where Anderson bounced a header inside the far post to even the score with 26:57 left.

When Clarke goalkeeper Rachel Boccio came off her line to challenge with just more than 10 minutes to go, Manhasset's Halle Palmedo sent a perfect chip shot toward the goal. With the net empty, Anderson made a beautiful leaping header to prevent the goal and clear the ball.

"It's better than nothing," Anderson said of the draw. "We were strong defensively, we were good in the air. We just need to play more to feet and finish and we could be dangerous."

Manhasset also could be dangerous with strong seniors like Danielle Nicosia and Kathryn Hallett and an infusion of talented freshmen like Palmedo and Lauren Martelli.

Katherine Markham sent a free kick from about 35 yards out on the left wing to the middle of the box. Erin Barry chased it down and deflected a shot off a defender and into the net to give Manhasset a 1-0 lead with 5:15 to go in the half.

"Last year we lost to them in PKs in the playoffs, so we really wanted this," Barry said. "We played well but I feel like we should have got more."

That they're not content indicates a change in mentality.

"It shows the direction of this team and the potential that I see in these girls," Manhasset coach Chris Keen said.

As for Clarke?

"Maybe it wasn't our lucky day," Russell said, "but we're going to have a lucky season."

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Keri McCarthy's 2nd-half goal lifts Hauppauge

East Islip forward Rachael Florenz moves the ball
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East Islip forward Rachael Florenz moves the ball through midfield in a game against Hauppauge on Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014.(Credit: George A. Faella)

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Keri McCarthy came off the field and lay down on the sideline. The trainer ran over and began to tape up her foot.

Sprained ankle? Nope. Injured toe? Guess again. Ripped cleat? Yep.

"Like half of the bottom was coming off,'' McCarthy said. "I had to come out of the game and get it fixed.''

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Nothing a little tape can't fix. She then used that very cleat, held together by black medical tape, to knock in a goal to give Hauppauge a 1-0 win over East Islip Wednesday in League IV.

"I knew it was the goal I had to get,'' she said. "But I guess I do need new cleats.''

Emily Kaplan sprinted down the left wing and took the ball away from a defender. She sent a cross to McCarthy, who fired from the top of the box into the top left corner of the net with 20:04 left in the game.

Goals were hard to come by last season for Hauppauge (3-0), which lost many one-goal games and narrowly missed the playoffs. The Eagles have been generating more offense this season behind Brenna Conover, who has become more of a playmaker in the midfield.

"It was really frustrating,'' Conover said. "It got to a point where we would control the whole game but couldn't finish. So this year, we are controlling games and putting balls in the back of the net, and it couldn't feel any better.''

The lead stood thanks to a strong defense led by Hannah Kaplan and keeper Nicole Sambuco, who had what coach Jesseca Kulesa called "her best game ever.'' Sambuco aggressively came off her line when needed and made nine saves, none prettier than a full-extension dive on a shot in the box.

"As a senior, I would love to make the playoffs, and maybe go to counties,'' Sambuco said. "I know we can do it. We just have to put our best foot forward.''

Even if it's in a taped cleat.

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