Single goal sinks Northport in girls soccer

Northport's Cortney Fortunato chases the ball in the Northport's Cortney Fortunato chases the ball in the Suffolk Class AA soccer championship at Dowling Sports Complex. (Nov. 11, 2012) Photo Credit: Gregory A. Shemitz

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HOMER, N.Y. -- Northport allowed only one shot. But it was a shot through the heart.

If ever there was an example of how cruel the game of soccer can be, and how fragile a season truly is, it was Northport's fate yesterday.

The Tigers dominated play, were first to every ball, and allowed Washingtonville into their zone only a handful of times. Yet Northport will be home today while Washingtonville plays for the state title at Cortland.

Washingtonville had only one shot on goal the entire game, but it landed in the back of the net, and that was all they needed in a 1-0 win over Northport in the state Class AA girls soccer semifinals at Homer High School. Kelsey Davis crossed a through ball towards the right wing to Meghan Haslett, who fired past a diving keeper and inside the far post 13:28 into the game.

"It's heartbreaking," Cortney Fortunato said. "But that's part of the game. You have to be ready on every play. They got us. There have been games where we just couldn't finish and this was one of them."

The opportunities were there, but so was Washingtonville keeper Amanda Vojta, who made 14 saves. Annie Teri's shot from the right wing took a friendly bounce towards the goal but was tipped away midway through the half. A free kick by Emily Columbus from 25 yards out was punched away with 12:30 remaining. Fortunato's direct kick from 40 yards out with seven minutes left was right on line but caught by Vojta.

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"We dominated the first and second half," senior midfielder and captain Ashlee Burke said. "It's really hard to see my team upset. We worked hard all season, we just didn't pull through. But we have to stay positive."

There's plenty to be positive about. Like going 17-2-2, capturing Northport's first county title since 1997 and winning the Long Island championship to compete in the state tournament for the first time in 17 years.

“It’s hard right now, but we still accomplished so much this season,” Northport coach Aija Gipp said. “It’s tough when you know you’re the better team and you don’t move forward. But what we have to remember is that we’re county champs and we’re Long Island champs. That still means a lot.” 

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