Meghan Wetzel of MacArthur makes the save before the ball...

Meghan Wetzel of MacArthur makes the save before the ball crosses the goal line during a Nassau Conference I girls soccer game against South Side in Levittown on Tuesday. Credit: Peter Frutkoff

One of the most impressive stops of the game won’t show up in a box score. The play itself doesn’t result in a statistic but it’s about as close to the definition of “save” as you can get.

Meghan Wetzel was the last line of defense for the Generals. The senior defender for MacArthur kicked out a would-be South Side score off the goal line less than 15 minutes into the contest. Wetzel collapsed into the net after expending all the effort she could to keep the match scoreless.

“I definitely thought it was going to go in,” Wetzel said. “We’ve had things like that happen in previous games and I didn’t want to let it happen again. When I saw it, I knew I needed to be there to stop it because that ball couldn’t get in.”

“That was amazing,” goalkeeper Bella Argento said. “I didn’t even think she was there but thank God she was. It was just incredible.”

That proved to be a pivotal moment in host MacArthur’s 2-1 victory over South Side in Nassau Conference I girls soccer on Wednesday.

Argento was thrilled to get all the help she could on the defensive side as the sophomore goalkeeper was playing in her first varsity game. Coach Steve Costello told her the day before that she'd be getting the promotion from junior varsity to varsity after injuries to the team’s first two goalies. 

“It was definitely nerve-wracking in the beginning but once the girls assured me it was going to be OK and I started playing, it was all good,” said Argento, who made nine saves against a strong South Side team. “I was really excited for it.”

“She’s a bit of a killer, we could see that in the summer that she has an edge,” Costello said. “You could see before the game she was very nervous but she made a couple of huge saves.”

Gina Iannuzzi headed in a cross from Ysabelle Perillo to give MacArthur (2-0-1) a 1-0 lead with 24:24 left in the first half. Sara Kealey struck four minutes later after fielding a ball from Bella Calabro. South Side goalkeeper Avery Testa charged from the net on a 1-on-1 and saved Kealey’s first attempt. But Kealey corralled the rebound and scored from 18 yards to take a 2-0 lead. Hannah Porter scored with 22:27 left in the second half for South Side (0-1-3).

“I knew when the time came, I just had to play simply and finish it,” Kealey said. “It bounced right back at me. I saw the goalie running full speed right at me so I knew I’d have another opportunity to finish it.”


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