Bay Shore senior Emma Hood moves the ball upfield during the...

Bay Shore senior Emma Hood moves the ball upfield during the first half of a Suffolk League I girls soccer game against host Commack on Friday, Oct. 14, 2022. Credit: James Escher

Two years removed from a winless season, it was difficult to build excitement around the Bay Shore girls soccer team. But shortly after first stepping on the field this fall, four-year varsity midfielder Emma Hood could tell this year was going to be different.

“If I’m going to be honest, I never expected in my four years to reach [the playoffs] because of the hard years we’ve had in the past,” Hood said. “But as soon as we had our first game, I had a really good feeling about this season.”

Those good feelings have Bay Shore heading to the postseason. The Marauders have already clinched the playoffs with a 6-3-1 league record with two games left through Thursday. After an 0-10 record in a shortened 2020-2021 season and a 4-10 mark last year, Hood wasn’t sure how this season would go.

“In the 2020 season, I feel like there was a lot less trust and belief in one another and we were all just trying to get through the season and wait for those 10 games to be done,” said Hood, who is committed to play soccer at LIU. “Ever since we lost the first few games, we kind of gave up at that point. And I feel like this year is just so different because even if we lose a game, the next practice we instantly come right back from it.”

Coach Paul Forthmuller credited Hood as a big reason for the turnaround. Hood, a senior midfielder, has four goals and seven assists through Thursday.

“It’s not just the skill that she brings to the field and the technical ability, it’s also the understanding of the game and the understanding of the growth of other players,” Forthmuller said. “And because of that, she’s the backbone. She’s the one that stirs the drink for us.”

Bay Shore has also received a spark of offensive energy from Evangeline Perdomo, a sophomore who leads Suffolk in goals (17) through Thursday. Leah Mendolia has added 10 goals and seven assists.

“My teammates have definitely helped me with this achievement,” Perdomo said. “It’s really special being a sophomore and knowing that I still have more years to play, it’s definitely special.”

The Marauders are happy to have reached the playoffs, but they want even more. They want to compete in the postseason.

“I don’t know how realistic the girls felt it was,” Forthmuller said. “When you’re 4-10 and 0-10 two years ago and setting goals … I don’t know how serious they took (making the playoffs). But when we got to that point that it became real to us, it was a wonderful feeling.”

A wild second half

You couldn’t blink over the final 21 minutes of Wednesday’s Farmingdale vs. Herricks matchup without missing a goal. The two teams scored five goals over the final 21 minutes, including Farmingdale scoring two goals in a minute to tie the score at 4 and put away the winner in a 5-4 victory.

Ari Diaz scored the winning goal off a through ball from Kiara Zelaya in the 73rd minute for Farmingdale. Gianna Pro-Solorzano scored after stealing the ball in the offensive zone to tie the score at 4 for Farmingdale in the 72nd minute. Farmingdale had a 3-2 lead in the second half before Herricks scored two goals within two minutes to take a 4-3 advantage.

Streak snapped

St. Anthony’s suffered its first defeat since 2019 in a 1-0 loss to Albertus Magnus, one of the top Class A schools in New York this year, on October 8. The Friars have won four straight CHSAA state championships and have a 10-1-2 overall record this season.

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