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Nicole Guarino helps Portledge girls to fifth straight PSAA title

Portledge's Nicole Guarino, left, gets congratulted by Ava

Portledge's Nicole Guarino, left, gets congratulted by Ava Pascarella after scoring to give her team a 1-0 lead. Pascarella scored the second and third goals in 3-0 victory. Credit: James Escher

The Portledge girls soccer team found itself in familiar territory.

The four-time PSAA champions were back at Cantiague Park going for their fifth straight title but this time against, Stony Brook,  a fierce and unfamiliar foe new to the PSAA

Portledge was worried but ultimately, they were unwavering as they defeated Stony Brook, 3-0, becoming five-time PSAA champions, Friday afternoon.

“This is my fourth and last year on the team and the win is amazing,” Nicole Guarino said. “We lost a lot of our starters last year so we have a whole new team. We really came together for this last game. We communicated and worked together, really setting the tone. It was a great game to end the season.”

Guarino started the scoring off with 34:48 on the clock off an assist from Brooke Godsell. The play started in the back field. Helen Sweeny passed the ball to Godsell who delivered a cross through to Guarino.

The next two goals were by freshman Ava Pascarella, with three minutes left in the first half and 1:39 remaining in the second.

The second goal was assisted by goalie Jeannie Wallner, who punted the ball down the field to Pascarella.

“This was a really good first year for me,” Pascarella said. “It’s my first time playing a varsity sport. We played Stony Brook in the regular season and it was a close and intense game. We knew they were going to come out even harder and in the end we did really well.”

Wallner finished with five saves. Stony Brook’s goalie Sarah Hull had 10 saves.

“Jeannie was a big part of the team,” Guarino said. “She helped set the tone and made a lot of saves for us.”

The win not only makes Portledge (10-6, 10-0 PSAA) five-time champs but also completes an undefeated season for the Panthers in PSAA for the first time.  

The new team may have struggled but pulled it all together when it mattered.

“We were a young team in the beginning but we improved a lot,” Pascarella said. “We didn’t think we would do that well but we really did. We were able to make great passes and make good finishes.”

Guarino added sentimentally, “I’m going to miss this team a lot.”

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