Stony Brook midfielder Donna Liotine #21 dribbles past Friends midfielder...

Stony Brook midfielder Donna Liotine #21 dribbles past Friends midfielder Michelle Babicz #11. Credit: GEORGE A. FAELLA

After years of playing bridesmaid to Stony Brook's bride, Friends Academy is finally one win away from making the long trip down the aisle to Cortland University.

What has become an annual matchup in the Long Island Class C championship ended with a different result for the first time in four years as Friends Academy defeated Stony Brook, 2-1, Tuesday at Diamond in the Pines in Coram.

"We had set goals with this particular team to win the conference and finally win the Long Island championship," Friends Academy coach Gail Baker said. "This is the best team in terms of a team concept and collectively wanting it. We said to ourselves that if we can do it with this group, this is a team that can take us to the next level."

The next level is just where Friends Academy is headed as it advances to play in the regional finals on either Friday or Saturday with a trip to the state tournament at Cortland on the line.

Krystina Iordanou broke a scoreless tie after taking a centering pass, settling the ball at the top of the box and sending a low liner past diving keeper Danielle Pappas with 14:56 remaining in the first half. Friends Academy took a 2-0 lead 6:27 into the second half after Stony Brook knocked a corner kick by Jamie Genatt into its own goal.

Donna Liotine scored a late goal to pull Stony Brook (12-4) within one, but the Bears were unable to convert on a pair of free kicks to tie the score. Keeper Correy Denihan had eight saves to preserve the win.

The title had added significance for Denihan and her fellow seniors, co-captains Michelle Babicz and Augusta Gahan, who shed the runner-up label in their final year.

"Every year since I've been in the program we've been really close to winning and this year we were finally able to pull it off," Babicz said.

With a Conference title and Long Island championship crossed off their list of goals, Friends Academy (9-2) hopes to do what Stony Brook did last year: bring a state title back to Long Island.

"We all wanted it and in the end it came together like we imagined it would," Baker said.

Smithtown Christian wins 11-0: Christina Casamassina and Chelsea Bellini - who scored two of her goals within a 39-second span - both recorded a hat trick, Gennifer Vanderventer and Shannon Casey each scored two goals and Julia Tomlinson added a goal as Smithtown Christian cruised to an 11-0 win over Coleman in the Class D regional semifinals at Diamond in the Pines.

Smithtown Christian (13-0) plays Northville in the regional final at 1 p.m. on Saturday.


Unlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months