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Arianna Montefusco's long-range goal lifts MacArthur

MacArthur's Arianna Montefusco (10) handles the ball on

MacArthur's Arianna Montefusco (10) handles the ball on offense in a game against Calhoun at Brookside School in Merrick on Monday, Sept. 8, 2014. Credit: Steven Ryan

In one word, MacArthur defender Kate Baumstein aptly described teammate Arianna Montefusco's long-range shot Monday:

"Wow.''

Montefusco's 35th-minute goal was the difference in the Generals' 1-0 win over host Calhoun in the teams' Conference AA-I season opener. The forward received a pass, dribbled to her right and put a 25-yard shot into the top right corner.

"I got a great pass from Kate Baumstein. I just dribbled the ball and ripped a shot,'' Montefusco said. "Personally, I wasn't expecting it to go in, but it felt awesome.''

MacArthur was put on the defensive in the second half as Calhoun looked to equalize, but a strong effort from the Generals' back line and junior goalie Casey Barrett in her varsity debut kept the Colts scoreless.

"Coming off of last season, after we lost to [Calhoun] in the semis, they were really motivated to beat them,'' MacArthur coach Michelle Towers said. "They put every ounce of everything into the game.''

Towers added it was a standout performance for Montefusco, a center forward who scored 12 goals last season. "She ran to every single ball and was just as tough as I've ever seen her. And that shot she took was absolutely amazing.''

In the second half, Calhoun launched a number of dangerous threats by attackers Taylor Iacono, Ariel Tillman and Jacqueline Shand. Midway through, the Colts would have tied it if not for a pair of saves in quick succession from Barrett. She was able to get her hands to a free kick, and a moment later she used her foot to deflect a shot off the ensuing rebound.

"Casey came up big for us today,'' Towers said. "It makes me feel at ease because we know we have somebody in the back who will come up big for us.''

"I definitely got all my nerves out,'' Barrett said. "I'm ready for the rest of the season now.''

Baumstein, a sophomore left back who also was making her varsity debut, played a key role in cutting out Calhoun attacks down her flank. She said that given the skill of the Calhoun forwards, it was important to "get to the ball first, keep them to the outside, [and not] let them go to the middle.''

Montefusco said, "Winning our first game just gives us confidence that we can keep going and beat any team if we play together.''

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