CORTLAND, N.Y. - Lyndsey Sparks, Mary O'Hara and their teammates wanted to create a "Miracle on Turf."
To do so, they brought their home turf on the road with them. Before road playoff games, each player sprinkled turf pellets collected from their field in Islip toward the back of both goals.
"We say the ball gravitates toward it," Sparks said. "I guess it really works. Maybe it is a miracle."
Sparks' goal propelled Islip to a 1-0 win over Jamesville-DeWitt in the state Class A championship game at SUNY Cortland on Sunday, giving the Buccaneers their first state title in girls soccer. But Sparks, O'Hara and their teammates are no miracle workers. They're simply skilled state champions.
"I don't know if it's a miracle or not," O'Hara said, "but to finish the season like this is unreal."
On the play that resulted in the winning goal, O'Hara stripped the ball at midfield and sent a pass through traffic to Sparks. She dribbled through the box with two defenders at her side and fired to the far post and into the back of the net with 7:11 remaining in the first half.
"I looked up and it was me and the goalie," Sparks said. "I was like, 'I have to get this in.' "
Was it a miracle that Islip keeper Cassidy Hock and the defense didn't allow a goal in the state tournament?
"Maybe a miracle or maybe a bunch of girls wanting one thing and working together," said Hock, who made four saves. "My defense is a brick wall."
That wall, featuring seniors Ali Bondi, Daniela D'Acunto and Kerri McDonald, allowed one goal in five playoff games. They were joined on the back line Sunday by Kayla Multer and sophomore Juliana Eastwood, who made her first varsity start because of injuries. Together, they helped Islip (14-2-1) make history.
"We worked super, super hard for this," Bondi said, "and we deserve it."
That being said, do you believe in Islip's miracle?
"At first, with the injuries, I thought this would be a miracle on turf," Islip coach Mike Reilly said. "After the way they played today, it was just a dominant performance by Islip soccer. This was no miracle."