Sayville had seized momentum, quickly erasing a two-goal deficit and tying the score in an unusual sequence with only a minute left. So when Jenna Sanossian scored the winner with 12 seconds remaining Monday, delivering Rocky Point a 3-2 field hockey victory, they were in absolute disbelief.
Rocky Point, that is.
"When things fall apart, we usually have a hard time regrouping," Sanossian said. "We shook it off pretty quickly this time."
In 59 seconds, to be exact. Sanossian drifted left and set up on the wing and, during a scrum, Nickie Sciulla gained possession of the ball just long enough to squib it outside. Sanossian collected the pass and smacked it into the near corner as the Eagles edged their Division III rival.
"This might be the most resilient group I've had; we haven't handled pressure well in the past," coach Katie Bittner said. Her team has reached at least the Suffolk semifinals in three straight years, but twice was eliminated by Sayville. "For them to respond with that little time left, it shows character."
The Eagles went up 2-0 on goals by Courtney Baldwin and Taylor Brodsky, then Sayville surged late. Julianna Giovan scored off a feed from her twin, Isabella, with 11:58 to go. And, after officials ruled the ball had been smothered after an Eagles save, Jordan Zanetti capitalized, tying it on a penalty stroke with 1:11 left.
But Rocky Point "showed some spunk," Alana Costantini said. The Eagles (3-0) deftly moved the ball in transition to set up its last shot.
Olivia Accardi made three saves for Rocky Point and its defense -- behind Costantini and Azriela Mansilungan -- dominated the first 48 minutes, repeatedly forcing turnovers in the circle. Annah Murphy made 11 saves for Sayville (1-2)
"We lose to [Sayville] in the semifinals last year and then we blow the lead today, but we came right back," Mansilungan said. "This felt magical in a way."
A pleasant surprise.