There was no shortage of motivation for Plainview JFK entering Thursday's girls soccer game at Syosset.
First, the Syosset factor. Syosset had not been kind to the Hawks in recent years. Plainview JFK has not won on the neighboring town's home field in the 14 years that coach Jodi Horowitz has been in charge.
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But second, and far more important, was the playoff factor. Plainview JFK needed to win one of its next two games to clinch a playoff spot for the first time in eight years. And with a season-ending date with undefeated Hicksville scheduled for Saturday night, it seemed like the perfect time to end the losing streak.
Fortunately for them, the Hawks won't have to face win-or-go-home pressure on Saturday night. A 2-1 win guaranteed that Plainview JFK will be a factor in the Nassau County playoffs next week.
Jessica Bernstein broke a 1-1 tie in the 78th minute when she knocked in a rebound of a shot by Erica Coppola that clipped the inside of the post. Coppola broke a scoreless tie in the 51st minute by deflecting a cross-field pass from Barbara Badeer into the left side of the net.
"You couldn't have asked for a more perfect play and a more perfect finish,'' Horowitz said of the opening goal. "It was absolutely beautiful.''
Horowitz said the breakthrough was only a matter of time after a scoreless first half.
"We dominated the game,'' she said. "It was a physical game. We needed to make sure that we played hard but clean [in the second half].''
Syosset tied the score with 13 minutes to play, but Plainview JFK goalkeeper Alana Cohen refused to allow a second tally. Cohen finished with six saves, including an aerial stop in the 66th minute and another dazzler on a Syosset breakaway moments later.