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SportsHigh SchoolGirls Soccer

Morgan Camarda overcomes cramping, scores in second OT to give Massapequa ‘AA’ title

Senior captain battles issues again, re-enters and tallies with 3:52 left in overtime to give Chiefs their sixth straight Nassau Class AA crown.

Morgan Camarda scored the winning goal as No. 3 Massapequa defeated No. 1 Calhoun, 1-0, in overtime to win the Nassau Class AA girls soccer championship at Cold Spring Harbor High School on Friday, Nov. 3, 2017. (Newsday / Owen O'Brien).

Massapequa forward Morgan Camarda laid on the turf with tears in her eyes, but she knew that wasn’t going to be her final play.

The senior captain has battled cramping issues throughout the season, and the Nassau Class AA girls soccer championship game was no exception. But after re-entering the game, Camarda took a pass from Jackie Portogallo and scored with 3:52 remaining in the second overtime period as No. 3 Massapequa defeated No. 1 Calhoun, 1-0, to win its sixth straight county Class AA title.

“This could have been my last high school game ever and I didn’t want that to happen,” Camarda said. “I’ve never felt anything better. Scoring, it’s so unbelievable.”

Massapequa (13-3-2) advances to play Northport (18-0) in the Long Island Class AA championship / Southeast regional at 10 a.m. Sunday at Bethpage at 10 a.m. This also marks the Chiefs’ 14th county title in the last 15 seasons.

Calhoun (11-3-2), which defeated Massapequa twice during the season, and Massapequa played a scoreless 80 minutes and initial 10 overtime minutes before the game’s first goal.

“We had to work really hard this year,” said coach Bruce Stegner, crediting his assistant Ron Forman for much of the team’s success. “Every game was a challenge to score. This game was obviously an incredible challenge to score, two great defensive teams playing each other.”

The Massapequa backline of Brenna Brown, Kirstyn Kilmeade, Alexandra Valentine and Elisabeth Hingher with Grace Bernardi at midfield and Haylee Poltorak in net had another strong game to limit the Colts’ chances. But when needed, including a diving stop in regulation, Poltorak (three saves) was there for the Chiefs.

“I came into this game knowing how important it was to just get it done,” Poltorak said. “Make every big save, every shot needed to be saved so it was just coming in prepared and having the mindset of getting it done.”

After Massapequa lost tremendous talent from last season, the players knew winning another title wasn’t guaranteed, but they trusted one another throughout the season.

“This year has definitely been, I would say, that hardest for us,” Poltorak said. “Between losing twice to the team we played in the county finals, I definitely think this was a huge win and I couldn’t be more excited about it.”

And in the biggest moment of the season, it was Camarda unwilling to stay on the sideline making the difference.

“She’s a special kid,” Stegner said. “A wonderful girl, a captain, three-year player on this team, so it’s extra special when someone like that gets to be the hero.”

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