South Side’s Jolie Creo charged down the field with just a defender, goaltender and a glaring scoreboard in front of her face.
With 30 seconds remaining and the score tied, the South Side defense corralled the ball and found Riley Ford, who quickly one-touched the ball to Jenna Lopez near midfield. Lopez, without hesitation, sent a through ball to Creo, who beat a defender and scored on a sliding kick as time expired for the winning goal in South Side’s 2-1 victory over host Wantagh in Nassau AB-I girls soccer Monday.
“It feels really good but it wasn’t all me,” Creo said. “It was my whole team. [Wantagh has] amazing girls that do those really long throws, so we knew we needed it all the way from the defense. And they just cleared it up and it’s my job to finish it, so I just had to do it.”
Creo saw the scoreboard read five seconds, made one more move before kicking the winning goal. Lopez said she heard Creo calling for the pass but admitted she was unsure there was enough time to score.
“Before the ball even came to me, I saw 10 seconds, so I knew Jolie was there and I knew she would be looking for that play,” Lopez said. “We’ve been playing together for so long so I know where she’s going so I just gave her the ball and she finished it.”
Wantagh (4-3-2) held possession the majority of the second half with the wind at its back, but Cyclones goalkeeper Julia Cavanagh, who finished with 10 saves, and the backline including Megan Sullivan, Kelsey Barrett, Lindsay Tighe and Erin McElwain, kept the Warriors off the scoreboard the final 40 minutes. Wantagh’s offense was fueled by many strong throw-ins, generating scoring chances.
“Those long throw-ins were a big issue in the second half, but our defense did a really good job at getting it out,” Cavanagh said. “And I think that we just pressured them nicely and it paid off.”
Wantagh struck first with a goal from Caitlin Albanese off an assist from Julianna Kissane five minutes into the match after a scramble in front of the net. But South Side (6-3) answered after Lopez sent a perfect corner kick into the box, which Alex Chruma fielded and hit the post before Olivia Rodriguez scored off the rebound with 2:31 remaining in the first half.
But it was Creo’s shot at the final second that would seal the game’s fate.
“I’ve never actually coached a game like this with a last-second goal but believe me, they worked for it,” coach Jenn Herman said. “They fought until the 80th minute and we got the result we needed.”
“All these games go down right to the wire,” Creo said, “and we just seem to figure out how to finish them.”