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SportsHigh SchoolGirls Soccer

Keri McCarthy's 2nd-half goal lifts Hauppauge

Hauppauge forward Keri McCarthy puts the shot on

Hauppauge forward Keri McCarthy puts the shot on goal for the score against East Islip on Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014. Credit: George A. Faella

Keri McCarthy came off the field and lay down on the sideline. The trainer ran over and began to tape up her foot.

Sprained ankle? Nope. Injured toe? Guess again. Ripped cleat? Yep.

"Like half of the bottom was coming off,'' McCarthy said. "I had to come out of the game and get it fixed.''

Nothing a little tape can't fix. She then used that very cleat, held together by black medical tape, to knock in a goal to give Hauppauge a 1-0 win over East Islip Wednesday in League IV.

"I knew it was the goal I had to get,'' she said. "But I guess I do need new cleats.''

Emily Kaplan sprinted down the left wing and took the ball away from a defender. She sent a cross to McCarthy, who fired from the top of the box into the top left corner of the net with 20:04 left in the game.

Goals were hard to come by last season for Hauppauge (3-0), which lost many one-goal games and narrowly missed the playoffs. The Eagles have been generating more offense this season behind Brenna Conover, who has become more of a playmaker in the midfield.

"It was really frustrating,'' Conover said. "It got to a point where we would control the whole game but couldn't finish. So this year, we are controlling games and putting balls in the back of the net, and it couldn't feel any better.''

The lead stood thanks to a strong defense led by Hannah Kaplan and keeper Nicole Sambuco, who had what coach Jesseca Kulesa called "her best game ever.'' Sambuco aggressively came off her line when needed and made nine saves, none prettier than a full-extension dive on a shot in the box.

"As a senior, I would love to make the playoffs, and maybe go to counties,'' Sambuco said. "I know we can do it. We just have to put our best foot forward.''

Even if it's in a taped cleat.

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