St. John the Baptist beats Sacred Heart to win CHSAA soccer title
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Faith Daley sealed it with a kiss.
After No. 3 St. John the Baptist defeated No. 4 Sacred Heart, 2-0, Friday night in the CHSAA girls soccer championship game at Adelphi University, each member of the Cougars patiently awaited their chance to plant a wet one on their new championship plaque.
"I kissed it a few times," said Daley, a senior captain who was named player of the game. "I want to take it home with me and look at it every day. We love that plaque."
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The smooching began after the Cougars struck for two goals in the opening minutes and made the lead stand.
Samantha Bernieri opened the scoring in the fourth minute after knocking in a loose ball off a corner kick by Gianna Giroux.
A little more than two minutes later, Sarah Yurgel retrieved a ball that deflected off a defender and took one touch before burying it in the back of the net to give St. John the Baptist a 2-0 lead.
"Usually, I don't have a good shot," said Yurgel, who entered the game having scored only one goal this season. "So it was the best feeling to get a goal in a game that is so important."
Colleen Hickey made eight saves, including a beautiful diving stop on a liner toward the near post to protect the two-goal lead with 25 minutes remaining.
Nicole Cody created multiple scoring opportunities for Sacred Heart (8-6-4), the best of which came after she wrestled the ball away from a shielding defender and fired a shot that rolled just wide.
As the clock hit one minute, Cougars fans began a countdown that grew louder with each second until time expired.
A season highlighted by Bridget Patch's 15-goal sophomore season and Daley's go-ahead goal in the semifinals to dethrone two-time defending state champion St. Anthony's, culminated with a championship. It was time to pucker up.
"At the very beginning, I knew we had a very good team, very talented," Baptist coach Shannon Keenan said. "I don't want to say I expected this, but I kind of did."
St. John the Baptist (14-5-1) advances to the CHSAA state semifinals Nov. 9 at Aviator Field in Brooklyn.
"It feels great to win a championship," Bernieri said. "Now I understand why our coaches always pushed us to the next level, because to have this experience is one of the best feelings ever."
Kind of like a first kiss.