The first instinct for North Shore’s Selena Fortich was to shoot, but then she heard a whisper.
With the score tied at 1 and a free kick inches outside the 18-yard box, Fortich elected to play the ball behind to Izzy Glennon, whispering to Fortich for the pass. Glennon fired a shot, hitting the crossbar, but freshman Maddie Berry charged the net and played the rebound for the winning goal with 23:56 remaining in the game as host North Shore defeated Garden City, 2-1, in a Nassau AB-I girls soccer matchup yesterday.
“I saw it kind of going over, so I thought ‘If I could be there for the rebound, I could just tap it in,”’ Berry said. “I was like, ‘I got to be there’ . . . I thought I was going to miss to be honest.”
But Berry finished her opportunity, which resulted in the first win for four-year varsity standouts Fortich and Glennon over Garden City.
“Going into the game, we were like, ‘It’s not revenge, but it’s time,” Fortich said. “Leave everything on the field. Blood, sweat, tears, everything.”
“Everything we said was, ‘It’s our time. We’ve earned it,’ ” Glennon added. “We’ve worked this hard up to here. This is our time to finally get them back and prove our spot here.”
Garden City (0-2-1) struck first with a penalty-kick goal by Jackie Morris after Gracie McManus forced a foul with 9:13 remaining in the first half.
But the Vikings continued pushing the pace on offense, often to no avail as Trojans goalkeeper Alexa Pyatsky played a strong game in net with 10 saves. North Shore broke through with Cailey Welch’s 10th goal of the season with 31:54 remaining in the first half.
“I was just ready for it,” Welch said. “I got that breakaway and you just have to go for it.”
North Shore, improving to 6-1 and 3-1 in Nassau AB-I, is out to prove it can play with the best on Long Island because of its team’s depth.
“Just knowing other teams trying to mark specific players, it’s just nice knowing it opens people’s eyes like ‘We’re not the only scorers,” said Fortich, committed to University of Miami. “Our team all around can score.”
Garden City ended North Shore’s season each of the last two years in the playoffs. Berry remembers being moved up to varsity late last season and watching the elimination game and her senior teammates certainly appreciated Berry helping to deliver the victory this time around.
“It’s just an awesome feeling getting that for your team, getting that confidence up,” Glennon said. “So I think it’s awesome for her, awesome for the team.”
The North Shore defense, including Patricia Cammarano, Taylor Berry, Eileen Quinn, Gabby Scott and Isabella DiBenedetto, helped keep the defending Long Island Class A champions from generating many scoring opportunities against freshman goalkeeper Giuliana Graziosi, who finished with one save, as coach Lauren Gotta was very pleased with her team’s performance.
And as Fortich put her trust in her teammates and passed to Glennon on the play that began the eventual winning goal, it proved where the goal comes from isn’t as important for the Vikings.
“I thought it was going to drop but it didn’t,” Glennon said. “But it hit the crossbar and Maddie finished it, so it worked out in the end, that’s all that matters.”