Lexi Ramonetti is used to being involved in penalty kicks, but not on the side of the ball she found herself Monday. But following a handball inside the goalkeeper’s box and a moment of confusion for the Northport girls soccer team, Ramonetti was setting up to deliver a game-changing kick.
“We haven’t exactly practiced penalty kicks much this season,” Ramonetti said. “So I kind of looked around like ‘So, who’s taking it?’ And everyone was like ‘Lexi you take it.’ I was like ‘No, no, no.’”
In the past, Ramonetti has only been on the receiving end of penalty kicks — a longtime goalkeeper who is playing midfield. But on Monday, she was the one whom coach Aija Gipp turned to give the Tigers a chance of a lead.
“I put the ball down, I know because I’m also a goalkeeper, you never look up and look at any side,” Ramonetti said. “You always keep your eyes down or not focus on the net, and I knew low and hard would just seal the deal.”
And that’s exactly what she did, ripping a shot for the game’s lone goal with 9:26 remaining in the first half as Northport defeated host West Islip, 1-0, in Suffolk I girls soccer Monday.
“I wanted to try to give her that opportunity because she was so close to getting a goal,” said Gipp, as Ramonetti had a shot hit off the post earlier in the game. “So I just went with that.”
Shortly after her goal, however, Ramonetti left after getting her hand stepped on. But she wouldn’t stay out for long.
“My coach was like ‘Do you want to play?’ and I was like ‘Of course I’m going to play,’” Ramonetti said. “I don’t need my hand. It’s not my foot, it’s not my knee, I’m going back in.”
West Islip (3-1-1) applied pressure on Northport (4-1) throughout, but the Tigers’ backline featuring Izzy Yeomans, Olivia Mincone, Maddy Wasilus, Julia Koenig and Renee Cormier along with Bailey Piper with 14 saves did a good job at limiting scoring opportunities.
“We knew coming into this game that they were going to play a lot of long balls,” Piper said. “But you have to be confident coming out and that’s how you’re going to get the ball.”
And even though Ramonetti was on an unfamiliar side of the field for her penalty kick, she enjoyed being in more control for a change.
“As a keeper, you don’t exactly have control of where it’s going, it’s a guessing game,” Ramonetti said. “You either go left, or right, or you don’t go at all and as a shooter, you’re all in.”