CORTLAND, N.Y. — Jillian Colucci and Brittany Fazin are each scoring threats on their own, but when they both find the back of the net on the same day, Port Jefferson becomes unstoppable.
Saturday became the fifth consecutive game both have scored, and their combination of two goals each gave the Royals a 4-1 win over Little Falls in a Class C girls soccer state championship semifinal at Cortland High School.
“We know how one plays and where, and runs to what and who likes what best,” Fazin said. “Playing together and being so close helps us connect so well.”
Port Jefferson (16-1-1) pressed early and often, but Maria Morotti struck first for Little Falls, scoring 28 minutes in. The team that had been creating opportunities suddenly found itself on its heals, but it didn’t last long.
Colucci made the shock a distant memory when she scored less than a minute later from inside the box. Then with 9:34 remaining in the half, she turned the momentum completely, getting taken down for a penalty that she converted for a 2-1 lead.
“We were kind of frazzled in the beginning just because of nerves, but once they scored that goal, we knew we had to turn it on and once we get going there’s no stopping us,” Colucci said
Fazin scored her first with a sliding shot in front of the net for a 3-1 lead with 32:33 left. She tacked on another with a minute remaining. Naturally, both were assisted by Colucci. It’s nothing new for the pair that have been connecting in travel soccer when they’re not making championship runs.
“We’re really tight,” Colucci said. “We’re really close friends, but we’re all close friends. All 16 of us.”
Ten of those 16 are seniors and will be looking for their second-consecutive Class C title when they face Geneseo at 2 p.m. on Sunday at SUNY Cortland. It’s their third straight appearance in a state final, including a Class B loss two years ago. But with 10 players taking the field one more time, there’s extra motivation to go out on top.
“We all know that we’re playing for that and playing for each other, so it’s almost like a twist on the past two years,” centerback Corinne Scannell said.
Brianna Scarda had five saves, and the back line limited its opponent to a goal or fewer for the 11th straight time. Together with the familiar attacking duo, they were playing for one more chance to reach the top.
“Being seniors makes it 10 times better and that much more important,” Fazin said. “It’s something that I know we’ll never forget.”