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Girls state soccer tournament preview

Southold/Greenport's Grace Syron during the Southeast Regional soccer

Southold/Greenport's Grace Syron during the Southeast Regional soccer playoff game on Nov 3, 2017. Credit: Bob Sorensen

Saturday will be special for girls from the North Shore and Southold/Greenport soccer teams. Both teams are in the state soccer semifinals for the first time.

Long Island Class A champion North Shore and Class C champion Southold/Greenport will be playing in their first state semifinals in school history on Saturday, their coaches said.

“Finally get to live the dream and go upstate,” said North Shore senior midfielder Selena Fortich, in her sixth varsity season.

“We see these other teams go every year and now we finally get to experience it,” added Isabella DiBenedetto, also a sixth-season senior.

North Shore (14-3-2) plays defending state champion Spencerport (Rochester) in the Class A semifinals at 5:30 p.m. at Cortland High School.

Southold/Greenport (14-4) plays Buffalo Allegany-Limestone Saturday at 5:30 p.m. at Homer High School, near Cortland, after defeating Haldane, 2-1, in the Class C Southeast regional final Nov. 3.

Led by Jillian Golden’s 33 goals and 16 assists and Grace Syron’s 18 goals and seven assists, Southold/Greenport is heading to Homer with plenty of confidence.

“This group set a goal in the preseason and worked extremely hard to reach that goal and play in the final four,” said coach Chris Golden, Jillian’s father. “They are thrilled but however, they feel like there is still unfinished business and we want to come back with a state championship.”

Long Island Class B champion Babylon is making its first state trip since 2004, coach Frank Mancuso said.

The Panthers’ offense has been dominant all season with Sarah Quigley, Val Velez and Olivia Maldonado each recording at least 28 points. In the postseason, Sophie Ryan has delivered in the clutch moments with a winning goal in the county championship in a 2-1 victory over Mattituck and final goal in the penalty-kick decider against Wheatley in the Long Island championship.

“This is a huge senior class and we’ve all wanted it from the start,” defender Molly Cummings said. “And it just feels so good to finally get there.”

Babylon (18-0) plays Rochester Aquinas Saturday at 5:30 p.m. at Cortland High School with the state final the next day at 12:30 p.m.

“We accomplished what we wanted to do (on Long Island),” Mancuso said. “Now we’re just going to go up and roll the dice.”

Two teams plenty familiar playing in state tournament games include St. Anthony’s and Massapequa. St. Anthony’s (15-0), the Nassau-Suffolk CHSAA champion after defeating Sacred Heart, 2-0, Nov. 1, will play Staten Island Notre Dame Saturday at Aviator Field in Brooklyn at 1 p.m. with the championship the next day at 1 p.m. The Friars won the state championship in 2015.

Massapequa will be making its fifth straight trip to the state semifinals after defeating Northport, 2-1, in the Long Island Class AA championship. The Chiefs lost in last season’s state final in overtime but won the state title in each of the three seasons before that. Massapequa lost a lot of talent from that championship core, but still returns a strong group featuring goalkeeper Haylee Poltorak, midfielder Grace Bernardi and forward Morgan Camarda.

“It’s our fifth year in a row and every year is special,” coach Bruce Stegner said. “This is a whole new group, most of these girls weren’t on the team last year. Most of the starters weren’t here last year, so it’s a whole different group and just a beautiful thing that they get to experience it.”

Massapequa (14-3-2) plays Buffalo Clarence Saturday at 5:30 p.m. at SUNY Cortland.

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