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Olivia Perez, Eva LaVecchia lift St. Anthony's girls soccer over Kellenberg

Olivia Perez #17 of St. Anthony's, left, and

Olivia Perez #17 of St. Anthony's, left, and Olivia Rinaldi #17 of Kellenberg battle for possession during a Nassau-Suffolk CHSAA girls soccer game at St. Anthony's High School on Monday, Sept. 20, 2021. Perez scored the lone goal of the match as St. Anthony's won by a score of 1-0. Credit: James Escher

There’s no such thing as an easy girls soccer match between St. Anthony’s and Kellenberg. Just take a look at Eva LaVecchia’s nose to prove it.

The standout senior defender had a bandage on top of her bloody nose after the host Friars’ 1-0 victory over Kellenberg in CHSAA action Monday. She collided with a Kellenberg player when jumping for a header near midfield late in the second half with one thing in mind.

"To win," said LaVecchia, holding a tissue. "It’s all to win. We want to win, it’s our last year and we want to make the best of it. We’re going to put it all out there. I’ll hurt my nose to win."

LaVecchia played a key role on both the offensive and defensive sides. She made a run toward the net and found Olivia Perez for the game’s lone goal with 12:01 remaining in the first half.

"I knew after trying a couple times I could get by [the defender], LaVecchia said. "I was wide-open on that side, someone played me [the ball] and I was like ‘We are getting a goal right now.’"

Perez scored off a cross in front of the net, although she admitted she wasn’t really expecting the pass.

"Honestly, I thought she was going to finish it herself," Perez said. "But when I saw [the ball], it happened to land on my foot and I was able to finish it. It felt amazing."

LaVecchia said she was looking for Perez the entire play, and credited their chemistry for the goal.

"Perez and Eva on one side of the field is extremely dangerous," coach Sue Alber said. "Eva, we just release her and let her go and attack. The two of them together are a lot to handle for other teams."

A strong defensive showing by St. Anthony’s players such as Amanda Dolan, Sonni Adams, Tess Jablonowski, Samantha Markey, Samantha Amplo and LaVecchia, along with Madalyn Salkowsky and Nieve Tonna in goal limited chances for Kellenberg (1-2).

Sofia DeVito had 13 saves for Kellenberg, including two shots from right in front of the goal, to keep the Firebirds in the contest.

"Credit to Kellenberg," Alber said. "They battled with us."

St. Anthony’s (3-0) has won the last four league championships. They’ve won the last three CHSAA state championships but were unable to compete for a state crown last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But with a state championship currently scheduled this fall, the Friars hope to keep their strong legacy going.

"It’s our last one and we weren’t able to last year, so we don’t know how it would have turned out," LaVecchia said. "So we need to make this one the winning one."

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