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Skylar Vitiello leads Massapequa past St. Anthony's
The magnitude of the moment was combined with the age of the player involved to develop a new nickname.
'It’s an honor to be called that," Skylar Vitiello said with a laugh.
That was the nickname teammates bestowed upon Vitiello, the only sophomore on the Massapequa girls soccer team, after she scored the winning goal in Massapequa's 1-0 win over St. Anthony’s on Tuesday night.
It was a match-up between one of the area’s most dominant public school programs, which has won nine of the last 10 county titles, against one of the area's most dominant private school programs, which has won the last two CHSAA state titles.
Leave it to the youngest girl on Massapequa to determine the outcome. Kristen Muir served a perfect corner kick to Mackenzie Palmer, whose header landed at the feet of Vitiello. She one-touched the ball into the back of the net for what was only the second goal of her young career, breaking a scoreless tie with 2:30 remaining.
"It was a great accomplishment knowing that they're one of the best teams in Long Island," she said. "We were very happy. We knew we had to play really hard to beat them."
The strategy for the Chiefs was to simply play their game by placing the ball to feet, but do so at a quickened pace. With Palmer anchoring a deep defense that displayed tremendous organization and goalkeeper Katie Hatziyianis anticipating through balls and playing her angles properly, Massapequa managed to hold a very potent team scoreless.
"You have to stay together and have a lot of communication," Palmer said. "Shutting down a team like that is one of the most amazing feelings ever and I’m so happy with my team."
It was the third consecutive shutout for Hatziyianis, who is in her first season as a full time keeper after splitting time last season.
"After coming out with that win, it will boost everyone's confidence," said Hatziyianis, who made 11 saves. "We'll come out with more bark about us now that we’ve beat one of the best teams in Long Island."
Massapequa, which last beat St. Anthony's in 2008, improved to 3-0. All it took was a strong defensive performance and the foot of a "Superstar Sophomore."
"It's early in the season and this was definitely a good measuring stick to see where we're at,” Massapequa coach Bruce Stegner said. "They are one of the top programs so we feel like we could be the top program. If you want to be the top program you have to beat the top teams."