All eyes were focused on goalkeeper Isabella DiPaola and forward Ally Masera before halftime during Wednesday night’s Suffolk Division II field hockey match between host Shoreham-Wading River and Eastport-South Manor.
SWR’s DiPaola and ESM’s Masera were the only players allowed near the net, as Eastport was awarded a penalty shot with no time remaining on the clock.
Masera stood seven yards in front of DiPaola in the one-on-one situation, and when the whistle blew, she fired toward the cage. The ball deflected off DiPaola’s left blocker to keep out a potential tying goal in Shoreham Wading River’s 4-2 victory. The save preserved a 2-1 advantage at the break for the Wildcats.
"You just have to be super confident in yourself in that type of situation," said DiPaola, who made five saves. "We work on that type of play almost every day in practice, and it definitely prepared me for that moment."
Before the penalty shot, Eastport (7-7) earned a corner as the halftime horn blew. On the untimed play, DiPaola made a save, but the ball remained under her pads. Because Shoreham-WR did not clear the ball, the half continued.
"They were coming at me and when you go down like that to make a save, you can’t really get up that quick," DiPaola said. "If your body is on the ball for too long, they have to call that."
Masera opened the scoring with just over nine minutes remaining in the second quarter when she buried an Amanda Sweeney pass for a 1-0 Eastport lead.
The lead did not last long, as the Wildcats scored two goals within a two-minute span.
Reese Marcario took a pass from Mya Napolitano and found the back of the cage with 8:05 left before half to tie the score at 1. Napolitano (two goals, one assist) gave SWR a 2-1 lead with 6:06 remaining in the second quarter after a penalty corner. Sophia Costello scored the Wildcats' third goal and Brooke Meltcher tallied two assists.
Masera scored her second goal of the game late in the fourth quarter for her Long Island-leading 28th of the season.
Shoreham-Wading River ended the regular season 11-3 and will begin its chase for a county championship next week in the Suffolk Class B playoffs.
"I have a ton of confidence in this team, and I truly believe that we can make a far run in the postseason," Napolitano said. "This is a special group of girls and it would be amazing to end my senior year with some hardware."