Officials asked Krystina Iordanou to wipe the black and red paint off her face before the game. That big smile on her face after the game, though? That couldn't be wiped off.
Even without the paint, Iordanou had her game face on and she scored two goals, including the winner, to lift Friends Academy to a 3-2 win over Port Jefferson in the Long Island Class C girls soccer championship at Dowling Sports Complex Saturday.
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Alexis Toles sent in a perfect corner kick that Iordanou headed off the crossbar and in with 24:13 remaining in the game.
A 30-yard free kick with seconds remaining by Olivia Racanelli, who scored both goals for Port Jeff, hit the crossbar and the ensuing scramble was cleared by keeper Claudia Ratner to preserve the win.
"We're really excited to go forward," Iordanou said. "To have a lot of young girls on the team and win, I'm really proud of everyone. We have a lot of heart, and youth can be helpful."
No one proved that better than eighth-grader Katarina Heffron, who knocked in a rebound off a shot by Kasey Katz to give Friends a 2-1 lead with 16:41 remaining in the half.
"It's pretty exciting," Heffron said. "I was on the ground after the shot and couldn't see so I was just praying it would go in."
Iordanou opened the scoring just 6:48 into the game on a hooking liner from 25 yards out.
Port Jefferson's Jillian Colucci turned on a defender along the end line and made a centering feed to Racanelli, who knocked in the tying goal with 19:37 left in the half. The junior forward later scored off a through ball by Olivia Love 8:27 into the second half to tie the score at 2.
"We gave it all we had," said Racanelli, who scored the lone goal in an overtime win in the Suffolk title game on Friday. "The season was a big success for Port Jeff soccer and we're looking forward to next season."
Friends Academy, the defending co-state champs, overcame a season in which it was so ravaged by injuries there were, at times, as few as 14 players available. Yet if the team wins the Class C regional final on Tuesday, they will advance to Cortland for a chance to defend their crown.
"Through some of the adversity, we rose to the occasion and did what we needed to do to win another Long Island championship," Friends coach Gail Baker said. "It's very rewarding."