Stingy Rousso leads Friends boys to LI C crown
Eli Rousso felt the pressure early. The junior goalkeeper for Friends Academy withstood a flurry of activity around his net and for that the Quakers are Long Island champions.
Rousso came up with some spectacular first-half saves. He made three diving stops, including one on a right-footed rocket by forward Alex Carlacci that had far corner written all over it. It was the last scoring opportunity for Port Jefferson, which found the Quakers' defense impenetrable in the second half.
Rousso's shutdown goalie play and an unassisted goal from Kyle Dineen from 20 yards with 25:03 left in the first half was all Friends needed in a 3-0 win over Port Jefferson last night to claim the Long Island Class C title before a boisterous crowd of 700 at Diamond in the Pines in Coram.
Senior midfielder Colin Heffron put the finishing touches on this one, which doubles as the Southeast Regional, when he added a goal and assist in the second half for the final margin. Heffron split two defenders and drilled a left-footed shot past keeper Gabe Davis for an unassisted goal from 7 yards with 17:25 left in the game. It was the sixth goal of the season for last year's MVP of the state tournament.
"Our keeper was excellent and kept them out of the net early and our defense just shut them down the rest of the way," Heffron said. "The second goal just took the pressure completely off."
It was the second straight year that Friends (12-1-2) beat Port Jefferson (14-4) for the L.I. Class C championship. The Quakers will move on to the state quarterfinal at 6 p.m. on Saturday at Adelphi.
Heffron wasn't done on the offensive end. His speed created the final goal when he outran two defenders to the right of the keeper and sent a beautiful cross to forward Matt Slotnick, who converted with 12:33 left for the 3-0 lead.
"I didn't even have to look, I knew he'd be there," Heffron said. "We have that chemistry."
Slotnick, who came in with 24 goals, was denied by Davis on two previous opportunities in the first half. He was stymied on a left-footed drive by a diving Davis and from point-blank range on another 15-yarder.
"We were much more intense in the second half," Slotnick said. "This was a total team effort and that's what we need to win another state title."