CORTLAND, N.Y. — The winning goal may have come with a little bit of luck, but the win itself was earned by the Massapequa girls soccer team.
Massapequa controlled the ball the majority of its state Class AA semifinal matchup with Buffalo Clarence, but was unable to score through the game’s first 80 minutes. Balls hitting the crossbar, diving saves, waiting a split-second too long for a shot denied goals, but eventually the Chiefs knew something would break their way.
“We had a lot of chances,” forward Kate Fiola said. “And we knew after every outcome, we were going to score after one of them.”
And just like Fiola has so many times this season, she was there when the Chiefs needed her most. The junior attacked the net and took a shot with the goalkeeper charging out. The ball rolled toward the net and eventually crossed the line after a Clarence defender’s kick hit off her teammate and into the net with 6:25 left in the first overtime period as Massapequa won 1-0 on a cold Saturday evening at SUNY Cortland.
“I saw my teammate Kayla Mushorn play it to me,” Fiola said, “and I just got behind the defender and knew I had to score, so I just flicked it in.”
Massapequa (15-3-2) advances to its fifth straight state Class AA championship game, playing Baldwinsville Sunday at 3 p.m. at Cortland High School. The Chiefs won three of the last four state championship games, losing in double overtime last season.
“It’s been crazy with a lot of ups and downs,” midfielder Grace Bernardi said. “But to see we made it to the final again is insane.”
Massapequa’s wins haven’t come easily, with its last three games going into overtime. The wins are due in large part to a stout defense and the goalkeeping of Haylee Poltorak. Coach Bruce Stegner said the Chiefs have only allowed one goal in the last 10 games.
“We’re maxing out,” Stegner said. “They have a lot of heart. We’re playing well together, defensive wise, and they’re having a lot of fun together and I feel like we are getting the most out of them.”
But with one more game remaining, and a chance to avenge last season’s championship loss, the Chiefs are excited to play another 80 minutes — and maybe more — together as a team.
“I think this team has a lot of character,” Stegner said. “Three overtime in a row and we keep surviving.”