This year, the North Shore girls soccer team dressed up as county finalists. Only, they get to keep wearing this garb all week. In fact, it isn’t a costume at all — it’s a reality and one that will, no doubt, taste sweeter than candy.
Top-seed North Shore defeated No. 12-seed Mepham, 2-1, in a Nassau Class A semifinal Tuesday afternoon at Cold Spring Harbor High School. The Vikings will face Manhasset at 4:30 p.m. Friday in the Class A finals, also at Cold Spring Harbor.
North Shore (12-3-2), which spent most of the game on the attack, finally broke through with two goals in the final nine minutes to squash Mepham’s upset hopes. Isabella Tedesco broke a tie at 1 in the 76th minute, taking a pass from Cailey Welch and slamming it into the back of the net.
Welch, who had tied the game five minutes earlier, debated taking the shot herself, but then noticed Tedesco with a golden opportunity.
“I definitely thought [Welch] was going to finish it off,” Tedesco said. “I was just hanging around waiting for a touch and I was going to finish it . . . I was just waiting for a cross to come in. I was in a good position and kind of got lucky.”
There was nothing lucky about the Viking’s eventual offensive production. They dominated the offensive end of the field for most of the game, coming up frustratingly empty for the first 70 minutes. Mepham’s Sarah Bayer opened scoring in the 34th minute, cashing in on a through ball from Maddie Pascarella. The lead looked like it might hold up and lift the 12th seed into the finals. But, then, the dominoes fell.
Welch found herself alone in front of the net in the 71st minute. She took a shot that bounced off a Mepham defender, got her own rebound, and netted the equalizer.
“I felt the goal coming,” Welch said. “Everyone was so hyped up at the end. We were coming in and everyone just wanted it so bad, and it happened.”
Manhasset 1, South Side 0: Halle Palmedo’s goal in the third minute of the nightcap of the Class A semifinal doubleheader was enough offense for third-seed Manhasset. The Indians used suffocating defense to dispatch second-seed South Side.
Manhasset held South Side to seven shots, and none in the second half. “I think our team never got complacent,” Madison Rielly, who assisted Palmedo’s goal, said. “We kept going 100 percent towards the ball. Our defense maintained themselves and never let anybody go. We never took our goal for granted.”
Rielly found Palmedo on a pretty pass up the center of the field, notching the eventual game-winner before a pace could be developed on either side.
“I was so ecstatic that I barely even remember it,” Palmedo said. “I remember, before the goal, I saw Madison Rielly just smiling. It made me calmer in front of the net and, as soon as I turned back around, she was still smiling, and kind of crying, but in a good way.”