The stage is set once again… Sacred Heart vs. St. Anthony’s in the CHSAA Class AA championship game.
That will be because this was: The Spartans defeated Kellenberg, 18-8, in a semifinal at Cantiague Park in Hicksville on Friday. (If I ever go with a lead this bland in an article, you have my permission to slap me.)
Led by Maeve Quinn’s career-high six goals, second-seeded Sacred Heart took control late in the first half and pulled away after intermission. Becky Conto added four goals and an assist, Nina Corcoran had four assists, Aileen Carey had two goals and an assist, and Emma Salter made 13 saves for the Spartans (16-3).
Taylor Casey scored three goals, Michelle Goss had two, and Taylor Hayes made seven saves for No. 3 Kellenberg (7-7).
Sacred Heart will face St. Anthony’s on Tuesday, 6 p.m. at Adelphi University. It’ll be the fifth straight year these teams have met in the league final.
But you probably already knew all that. What we’ve got here is extras – reactions from the game and some randomness.
As promised, Nina and Chrissy Corcoran’s aunt, K.C. Comerford: “It’s the last game before we face St. Anthony’s and Sacred Heart is winning. (At the time, Sacred Heart was up 9-3 with 18:40 remaining.) “We’re gonna play St. Anthony’s on Monday and we’re gonna take ‘em down this time.”
(I would imagine if Nina is reading this she just shook her head.)
Reaching the CHSAA final again: “It means a lot to us, getting this far and beating a good team to get there. Hopefully this year we can make it a win.”
Bouncing back after Monday’s 13-11 loss to Shoreham-Wading River: “As a whole, we didn’t play up to par in Shoreham. But today we had to come out and prove what we’re capable of and show we deserve to be in the championship game.”
It was tied at 3 midway through the first half against Kellenberg. What clicked after that? “We stopped forcing passes and shots and we realized we had to play our game and be smarter with the ball.”
What can you do differently against St. Anthony’s? “We have to focus on the little things – all the groundballs and draw controls. If we can get that done, we’ll give ourselves a better chance.”
Spartans coaches Morgan Molinari and Shannon Ledwith
Being back in the championship game: (Molinari) - It’s always a good spot to be in. Kellenberg is a good opponent, so it’s nice playing a hard game before we go into the final.”
What changed after the score was tied at 3? (Ledwith) – “We stayed composed and started passing the ball more and running our plays, and things fell into place.”
What did you tell the team after the Shoreham-Wading River loss? (Molinari) – “Shannon said it best, she said that loss was almost needed; it was a wake-up call. Our only other losses were to St. Anthony’s. So losing that gave us a bump that we needed to realize that we have to come out strong every time.” (Ledwith) – “That loss kept us in check and it made us get refocused and work harder. We were lax going into the game, considering what we’d proven so far. It taught us that if we want to win a championship, we have to be on every game.”
What can you do differently against St. Anthony’s in the third meeting this year? “Not lose this time,” Molinari said with a laugh. “The second time we played them we cleaned it up a little bit. You can’t have any lulls against them. They’re an awesome competitor, one of the top teams in the country, so you have to be locked in every second of the game; there can’t be any down time.”
Meghan Breen has scored five goals in three of her last five games. “It’s been awesome watching her. Who doesn’t like watching a riser hit the top left corner every time it leaves her sticks. She’s a great competitor and we’re excited that she’s having such a good year.”
Erin Pfail had a goal and an assist.
(A few weeks ago, Barbara Brescia, the mother of Farmingdale player Samantha Bresica, told me to ask Erin Pfail how she got the nickname “Bow Girl.” So I had to ask…)
The legend of Bow Girl: “I sell bows in my school and I donate the money to breast cancer research.” (Very admirable. Although, I thought we were gonna find out that Bow Girl is actually a mild-mannered 10th-grader by day and a crime-fighting superhero by night. Then again, she might still be.)
Pfail has also helped raise money for the construction of a new field at Sacred Heart: “I wrote a letter to Charles Wang to help us get a new field and he donated $2,000. Altogether, I’ve raised about $3,000 this year… I care about my school so I want to improve it as much as possible.”
Why didn’t you wear a bow in today’s game? “I’m not intimidating with the bow.”
At this point I told Pfail that she’s not very scary. She then flexed and said, “I know. I’ve gotta grow my muscles.” (It’s been more than 24 hours and I just laughed again while playing that on my recorder.)
It’s been said that Sacred Heart could break ground for a new field as soon as late June: “That’s huge. I’m sad that the seniors won’t have a chance to play on it, but getting it built would be incredible.”
Reaching the CHSAA final again: “It’s a great accomplishment for us and we plan on playing to our full potential against St. Anthony’s.”
Turning it on after a slow start: “I think we got our nervous energy out early on. We usually start off slow against Kellenberg, but we figured it out and got it going.”
Facing St. Anthony’s again: “We have to have confidence in ourselves and play our game. If we play our game, cut down on the mistakes and play at a 100%, I think we can win.”
(Nobody go twisting that and saying Salter guaranteed a win. She said “I think we can win.” And, really, that’s how every competitor should feel going into any competition.)