When a big play is needed for Calhoun girls soccer, it’s usually at the feet of Annie Coogan or the hands of Gillian Stapler.
Or sometimes both. Quite often both.
Coogan scored the winning goal off an assist from Kathryn Healy with 20:26 remaining in the match in No. 2 Calhoun’s 1-0 win over No. 3 Port Washington in a Nassau AA girls soccer semifinal matchup Friday night at Cold Spring Harbor High School.
“It’s crazy,” Coogan said. “It felt like her pass was meant for me, like she knew where I was going before I even got that.”
Calhoun (9-3-5) will play top-seeded and three-time defending state champion Massapequa (14-2-1) for the Nassau AA girls soccer championship Tuesday at Cold Spring Harbor High School at 4:30 p.m.
Friday’s matchup was much different from the two regular-season affairs between Calhoun and Port Washington, with the two teams defeating the other, 3-2. The semifinal game was more defensive oriented, led by Stapler’s 10 saves for the Colts.
“We love these tight games,” coach James Raucci said. “We don’t panic, we don’t freak out and lose composure and we kind of just sit and play real patient. It kind of freaks me out a little bit . . . Any other team I’d be nervous about but these girls just seem to be real comfortable in these moments.”
Specifically, Coogan and Stapler. Coogan also scored the winning goal in Calhoun’s 1-0 quarterfinal win over Hicksville and scored the winner against Port Washington in the regular season.
“I think under pressure makes me more into it and crazy about it,” Coogan said. “Crazy about the win.”
Stapler held off the Port Washington offense with a series of impressive saves, including multiple charging out of the net and stepping in front of crosses off corner kicks to preserve the shutout. But she refused to take that credit herself.
“I just think I have such a great defense, such a great team and a great attitude that we just kept it together,” Stapler said. “They just helped me really focus and we were just a team.”
And about the daunting task of trying to be just the second school not called Massapequa to win the Nassau AA title since 2003?
“We can do it,” said Coogan, whose Colts did tie Massapequa at 1 in the final game of the season. “We’re all excited because we know we can.”