Calhoun defeated Mepham in double overtime, 2-1, in a thilling Nassau Class AA semifinal Friday night at Denton Ave. Park. Calhoun had been trailing for more than 60 minutes before Jessica Foley scored with less than two minutes left to tie the score at 1 and send the game to overtime. It was just the third goal of the season for Foley, a sophomore.
Calhoun was awarded a PK with 3:11 left in the first overtime period and Mary Hijazi scored to give the Colts (16-0-2) the lead and they held on to win.
Mepham's Emily Schmitt scored on a free kick from more than 30 yards out which sailed over leaping Calhoun goalkeeper Alissa Battaglia in the 16th minute. It was Schmitt's second goal of the season.
Mepham's defense was stellar all game long. Every time the Colts began a rush upfiled there were Pirates there to stop them in their tracks. Nassau's leading scorer Kristina Gandolfo (25 goals) was battling Mepham defenders all night and had a chance in the 55th minute when she got tangled up with goalkeeper Alexa Rinaudo. Rinaudo made seven saves for Mepham (7-7-2).
Calhoun's defense was also very good although Mepham's offense did not apply much pressure. Aside from Schmitt's goal, the Pirates did not have a shot on goal during regulation. Battaglia made two saves in overtime for Calhoun.
Calhoun coach Lori Biscardi:
On how it feels to win the game:
Unbelievable. Words can’t even come to my mind right now.
On Mepham's defense:
Very frustrating [...] Mepham’s defense was phenomenal. It was very hard to get through them.
On whether she had doubt in the closing minutes of regulation:
[Doubt] did creep in. I saw those last few minutes. Every girl had so much heart out there. I had doub,,t yes but I had this feeling. They’re such a close family and they just never give up.
On how she felt when Jessica Foley tied the game:
Oh my god. It’s just excitement. It’s just unbelievable. I’m speechless.
On who she wanted to take the PK in overtime:
All three coaches, we all looked at each other and we all said ‘Hijazi’ at the same time. She was our number one PK and we knew it had to be her.
On adjusting to having the lead after trailing for more than 60 minutes:
We had the experience in the Farmingdale game to hold them for the 19 minutes in the overtime. They knew what they had to do again. We dropped back everyone we just leave Gandolfo up top. Up-and-out every time and play it into the corners.
Calhoun defender Jessica Foley:
On how it feels to win:
It feels great. We fought with all our hearts and we got it done.
On what she thought during the final minutes of regulation:
You just need to give it your all and never give up. You need to get the job done and do it.
On what she was thinking as she was scoring the game-tying goal:
I knew what I needed to do and get it in the net for my team.
On what she thought when Mary Hijazi was taking the PK:
Mary’s amazing I knew that she would do it.
Calhoun midfielder Mary Hijazi:
On how it feels to win:
We’ve never been this far so it’s just crazy that we’re here and going to the finals. This is the first time and it’s definitely sunk in. We’re doing it for ourselves, for our school, for everyone.
On Mepham's defense:
I know I was getting every aggravated but you have to stay calm. You have to keep going no matter what.
On what she thought when Calhoun tied the game:
It was amazing. It was like ‘we’re still in the game.’ We’re going to go into overtime and we’re going to finish them.
On how she felt taking the PK in overtime:
A little bit of nerves but I’ve taken them before. The most important thing is you’ve got to stay calm, stay composed.
Mepham coach Samantha Foronjy:
On the success of the season:
I think people underestimated us but we knew what our potential was going into the season. We have exceeded our expectations. We didn’t set any straight goals we just took one game at a time and hoped that we would go as far as we can. The last thing I said to them was ‘this is our first year together.’ This is my first year coaching with them, the bulk of my team is juniors so we have a big future ahead of us. I’m nothing but proud of these kids. I think we have a lot of potential in years to come.
On what she's thinking in the final minutes of regulation:
Absolutely taking no chances anywhere on the field. Use the clock. Make sure no one’s left open just play together, tight defense. I thought we had it, I thought we were doing that. [...] Not until the end of the game do I ever think or assume that we had it in the bag. I knew every single second of that game needed to have the kids total attention and focus. I don’t think that we lost focus, I just think they beat us. We got beat.