When Northport got in trouble Tuesday night in the Suffolk Class AA girls soccer championship game, it dialed for help. It was a long-distance call.
Midfielder Vincenza Patrone took a pass from Kristin Desmond and blasted in a goal from 30 yards out that proved to be the game-winner in Northport's 2-1 victory over West Islip at the Dowling Sports Complex in Shirley.
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Patrone's goal was the second for Northport in 27 seconds, and was the Lady Tigers' answer to West Islip having the audacity to score first -- on Carly Kohler's shot 11 minutes into the game. "That was a wake-up call for us," Northport coach Aija Gipp said. "We needed a little pressure on us. That's what our team is about. When we need to put the ball in the back of the net, we do."
In winning its second consecutive Suffolk AA title, the Lady Tigers improved to 18-0 and will play for the Long Island championship on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Tully Park in New Hyde Park. West Islip finished 15-3.
Northport tied the game when its leading scorer, Desmond, banged one just over the goal line on a feed from Kelsey Kearns with 9:10 left in the first half. It was Desmond's 18th goal of the season as she is the focal point of the offense. Patrone is not.
"It was bad for the team to fall behind," Desmond said. "I'm thinking, 'Oh crap, we're down 1-0.' But this is not the first time we've scored two goals quickly. We were behind Smithtown West 2-0 and we scored two goals in like 20 seconds. I was happy for Cenza; she doesn't usually score goals."
Patrone called herself "a distributor. From where I play, my only opportunities are from outside the box. Goals are a rare thing for me. It's a really good feeling, but my team deserves the credit for holding the lead."
Desmond was among those who missed several close-in scoring chances in the second half. "It was a matter of inches," Gipp said. "We had great opportunities and the score could have been much different."
But the outcome would have been the same. It just wouldn't have been a close call.