Jillian Golden approached the penalty kick just as she had any other. It was poised and deliberate, but her body language suggested that there was only one acceptable outcome on her mind.
With Southold/Greenport and Haldane tied in the 54th minute of Friday’s Class C girls soccer Regional Final at Diamond in the Pines in Coram, Golden fired a shot to the lower left corner past the diving goalkeeper, Abigail Platt.
Southold/Greenport held on in the final 26 minutes for a 2-1 win, sending the team to its first state final four appearance in program history, according to coach Chris Golden. Southold/Greenport will play at SUNY Cortland on Saturday, Nov. 11, in the semifinals.
“I was thinking of all the world-class players who miss their PKs on a higher level,” Golden said. “But I knew I wasn’t going to miss because I don’t miss PKs. I don’t let myself miss.”
Long Island’s leading goal scorer with 33 tallies, Golden came close to converting earlier chances but couldn’t find the back of the net. Given her tenacity and Southold/Greenport’s style of play, it was just a matter of time before she struck.
“Jill, she doesn’t let anything get her too happy or too upset,” said midfielder Grace Syron, who scored the equalizer in the 49th minute. “She just works hard throughout the whole game.”
Syron was impactful on both ends, using her size and powerful leg to disrupt Haldane’s offense, which struggled through most of the game. Haldane’s lone goal came when Jade Villella made a run at the goal in the 24th minute.
But it was Syron’s goal that made the biggest difference, ensuring that Southold/Greenport wouldn’t be held scoreless for the first time this season.
“It relieved the pressure,” Golden said. “We knew that if we got a goal, the momentum would be picked up. No team in the entire season has kept us shut out. We have always scored.”
Southold/Greenport (14-4) had already won the program’s first county title since 1987, but now in uncharted territory, hopes are to keep up the high-octane offense.
Led by Golden, with ice in her veins on penalty kicks, Southold/Greenport could continue its roll. After all, she might be the most confident player on the field if you ask Chris Golden, her father and coach.
“She’s been in that position before,” he said. “She’s made them and she’s missed them . . . In her mind, she’s going to score. She knows it.”