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Girls soccer: Ward Melville wins controversial shootout

Top-seeded Ward Melville’s shootout victory over No. 8 Deer Park in the Class AA quarterfinals on Wednesday ended in protest.

With Jordan Porretto, Caysea Cohen and Emily Rogers having already scored in the shootout to take a 3-2 advantage, Deer Park’s final shooter lined up to take a shot with the season on the line. According to Ward Melville coach John Diehl, the shooter and Ward Melville keeper Ally Ramos each acknowledged they were ready. The shooter then took her shot, which was saved by Ramos, before the referee blew the whistle.

Deer Park protested the call, claiming that because the shot was taken before the whistle, it should be retaken.

After approximately 20 minutes, the three-person Section XI protest committee, which is on site for all playoff games, ruled that the shot would stand because there is no rule stating that the whistle must be blown prior to the shot.

“The protest committee decides whether it’s a violation of the rule,” Diehl said. “They decided that they can’t rule against it and counted it as a save.

“She chose to shoot, she made the choice,” Diehl said. “I know their coach was feeling that there was no whistle but she still ultimately chose to shoot. It’s not a great way to get the win, but Ally made a great save.”

The protest momentarily overshadowed what had been a tremendous game. After Katie O’Connor opened the scoring in the first half for Ward Melville, Deer Park’s Laura Goemz tied the game at 1 in the second half to force overtime. Tara O'Hern scored from 20 yards out with five minutes remaining in the second overtime to put Ward Melville ahead 2-1. But Deer Park responded almost immediately as Alyssa Cavalcante scored off a corner kick about one minute later to force two five-minute sudden death overtime periods, in which neither team scored. That set the stage for the controversial shootout.

Ward Melville advances to host No. 4 West Islip at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday in the semifinals.

“We’ll probably rest a lot tomorrow then get ready for West Islip’s aggressive, physical play,” Diehl said. “They are known to be very intense on the field. They are always fired up. They know how to work hard and know how to win.”

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