CORTLAND, N.Y. — For Port Jefferson, all it takes is one. A single goal is usually enough to send a potent offense off to the races. But the number in everyone’s head at the girls soccer state Class C championship on Sunday was 10.
The Royals had 10 seniors looking to walk off as back-to-back state champions. The fact that this was their last chance helped fuel a second-half comeback that included three goals in an eight-minute span to take the title in a 4-1 win over Geneseo at SUNY Cortland.
“We realized what’s going on and that we were actually down and we need to pick it up,” Brittany Fazin said. “This was our last 40 minutes together and we just need to play our game.”
Down 1-0 after Geneseo’s Victoria Finn scored with 7:52 left in the first half, Clare O’Connor sensed the urgency and pushed forward to open the second half. She got close with a strike over the crossbar 10 minutes in. Two minutes later, O’Connor got the opening she needed and passed to Jillian Colucci, who scored to get the Royals (17-1-1) even.
“Whatever I did was just to get the ball in the net,” O’Connor said.
Port Jefferson kept pressing. Fazin charged up the middle and scored to give the Royals the lead with 24:26 left. She came right back three minutes later with a strike from 35 yards out, assisted by Colucci. That capped the quick turnaround, but Fazin wasn’t done. She sealed the win with five minutes left, taking a 25-yard shot.
“I had a couple teammates talk to me and they boosted up my confidence,” Fazin said. “They were like, ‘You have an amazing shot, you can do it.’ I told myself I could do it and that I should be taking all these shots.”
The shots that couldn’t find a finish in the first half were suddenly ending up in the net, and the realization set in that the seniors playing together for their final time were going to walk off as state champions once again.
“Our chemistry is just incredible because we’ve been playing with each other for so long,” Colucci said.
Goalkeeper Brianna Scarda and the back line of Alexa Wakefield, Corinne Scannell, Katie Connolly and Camryn Ward recorded their 12th consecutive game allowing a goal or fewer, and Fazin and Colucci scored in the same game for the sixth straight time. It all started with one moment that allowed the breakthrough.
“Once they get that goal, it’s what motivates them,” coach Michele Aponte said. “It fires them up, and then there’s no stopping them.”
The only thing stopping them now is the end of another season together, but there wasn’t much time to worry about that during a celebration. Besides, there’s no better option for the final chapter, Fazin said.
“The fact that we’re all seniors and all get to end this way,” Fazin said, “is indescribable.”