With one kick, sophomore Jillian Colucci sent one of Long Island's youngest girls soccer teams to a county championship.
Colucci's penalty goal with 11:24 to play was the deciding score in No. 1 Port Jefferson's 2-1 win over No. 2 Babylon Monday in the Suffolk Class B final at Dowling.
"It was shocking and incredible,'' said Colucci, whose 25 goals lead the county. "I was just praying that I got that in.''
Port Jefferson's roster is composed of 12 underclassmen and three upperclassmen. There isn't a single senior on the team. Even first-year coach Allyson Wolff had tempered expectations heading into 2014 with such an inexperienced squad.
"We said that from the beginning, too,'' Wolff said. "We thought it would be a rebuilding year.''
Wolff, who was the junior varsity coach the previous four seasons, said the Royals (14-2-2) have a tendency to play a little nervously in the first half. A goal by Babylon's Megan Nerney five minutes into the game only amplified the jitters.
"We were a little shaken up by that goal because it was so early,'' Colucci said. "But we never gave up.''
The Panthers (14-2-2) were in control for the rest of the half. Wolff then sat her team down on the edge of the 18-yard box.
"At halftime, I told them that this isn't the way we've played all season,'' Wolff said. "We wanted to show why we earned the No. 1 seed, and I think it showed in the second half.''
Junior captain Olivia Love launched a ball from 45 yards that sailed over keeper Kristen Altieri's outstretched arms for the equalizer with 30 minutes left. That set the stage for Colucci's game-winner.
"The kid is just amazing,'' Wolff said. "She's just an all-around player that I could put anywhere on the field and she'd get the job done.''
Port Jefferson advanced to the Long Island championship Saturday at 3 p.m. at Dowling. The Royals will face the winner of Tuesday's Nassau Class B final between Cold Spring Harbor and Wheatley.