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Port Jefferson girls soccer team eyed title from the start

Port Jefferson players celebrate after beating Elmira Notre

Port Jefferson players celebrate after beating Elmira Notre Dame in the state Class C girls soccer final at SUNY Cortland on Nov., 15, 2015. Credit: Rich Barnes

It was evident even during the preseason in August. When most teams were working on the basics and establishing chemistry, the Port Jefferson girls soccer team appeared to be in midseason form.

“I was like, ‘Wow, already they’re looking this good?’ ’’ coach Allyson Wolff said. And that, of course, was because the Royals did not lose one player through graduation from the year before.

By keeping the roster intact from their 2014 state runner-up team, the Royals entered this season with their offense already in tune and their defense already in rhythm. Leadership came from every direction, whether it was seniors Olivia Love and Noelle Zimmermann or juniors Jillian Colucci, Clare O’Connor, Brittany Fazin, Katie Connolly and Corinne Scannell.

“It’s hard to find a group of girls like the one we had,” O’Connor said, “because usually the same group only plays with each other for a single season. So it’s huge when you do get a group of girls that are always on the same page.”

The end result? Port Jefferson (15-2) steamrolled the competition in league play, going 12-0 with an average margin of victory of more than five goals per game.

A year after walking off the field in Cortland, the Royals got the red carpet treatment upon their return to Long Island as Class C state champions. Their bus was escorted by fire department vehicles to the school where team supporters were cheering, chanting and holding signs.

“It was an unforgettable experience,” said Colucci, an All-Long Island selection who had 19 goals and 13 assists this season. “Just walking off that bus and knowing that we were the first team ever for Port Jefferson girls soccer to win a state title, it felt amazing. And to have so many people there to support us, it was awesome.”

Colucci’s top memory from the state tournament is still the sound of the final whistle in the 3-1 win over Elmira Notre Dame in the state final. The Royals lost, 3-0, to Bronxville in the Class B final last season.

“I think that coming off that loss in the finals last season, we came back with a whole new drive and a determination to go one step further this season,” she said. “So I think that it was just that final whistle, and once it blew, we knew we had finally done it.”

As for next season, the Royals return 10 seniors.

“They’re already talking about it,” Wolff said with a smile. “They want another.”

ROYALS’

road to the championship

Southeast Regional final

Haldane 3-0

State semifinal

Caledonia-Mumford 4-1

State final

Elmira Notre Dame 3-1

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