Not everything can make it into the game story in the paper. Here are the additional quotes from after Friends Academy's 3-2 win over Keshequa in the Class C state semifinals.
On her game-winning goal:
I got a really good ball from the left side of the field. I touched it with my right and I knew I had a clear lane. I went and was hoping that I had enough speed to get past the defense and once I got past the defense I saw that the goalie wasn’t coming out so I picked which side I was going to go to. Went to the right side of the goal, shot it with my left and thank God it went it because that really was the turning point for us. We started to pick up our pace in the second half. We needed that one thing to finish it for us
On being tied at halftime:
We talked about as a team, relaxing, not letting our emotions get in the game. Our defense did a great job in the second half. We didn’t have the sun in our face which really helped us.
We really pride ourselves on defense so we knew our defense was going to show up for us. We had some silly fouls in the first half that gave them good opportunities to score. If you play great defense you’ve got to score.
On the difficulty of playing into the sun:
The sun is always a factor, more so for the goalie. That was another thing we wanted first half, we wanted to have the sun in our face in the first half.
On Gabrielle DiAngelo:
Coming into this game we saw she had a good amount of goals this season. We knew she was going to be physical, have a good shot.We had to keep tight on her. She’s fast. We didn’t give her the shots (in the second).
On her goal:
I saw an opportunity to shoot and knew I had to take the shot. If it bounced off the goalie or anything there could have been someone there for a rebound. I did everything I could just to get the shot off.
On her assist:
I took the ball from the sideline. I intercepted a pass and dribbled it down. I saw my player open and gave a cross to her head and she made an amazing finish.
On being tied at halftime:
Whoever got the goal first [in the second half] was going to win the game.
Friends Academy coach Gail Baker:
On halftime adjustments:
I spoke to my team about not fouling in the defensive end. I was very proud we were able to shut down their key player. They didn’t seem to have much of an attack without that. We denied her the ball most of the game, I think there were fewer than she’s seen.
Collectively, we did it as one unit. What got us here was our control game and will to win, win the 50-50s. We kept it simple and basic. We don’t want to go home today. It feels incredible to be up here for the first time and have this first semi game under our belts.
On the early goal by Keshequa:
You refocus and I have a lot of confidence in each girl to make adjustments. I didn’t lose focus, that one goal didn’t set me back at all. I didn’t want that opportunity to happen again. Both their goal were on set plays.
On what she felt at halftime:
We’re feeling, we keep it the way we’re going. Open up the field a little and when you’re in the front, that had a fine goalie but I said we need to take more shots on her. With the sun, the wind behind us, we need to challenge her more. It doesn’t have to be a pretty goal, just put the ball in the net.
I had the faith that our defense would secure us as it has all year and they came through. I was concerned. That’s a breakdown that we gave them a few opportunities later on but we did get the win.
On Iordanou’s goal:
I think they were caught off-guard. Once she beat the one, then she had the second and it was open field. I think when she had that breakaway we all felt on the sideline, ‘if it’s going to be anybody who has this opportunity she’s our most poised and someone who has played at such a high level.’ I almost felt that ‘we’ve got this.’ When she took it on I thought in my mind silently that ‘we got this goal’ she wanted it bad enough. I think she took that last split second, like you teach and push it right to the corner.
On Claudia Ratner:
Claudia was very distressed at halftime, not happy with her play. We had one of the coaches meet with her one-on-one. Her comments were the sun was in her eyes. She couldn’t really see the ball and track it. She was caught off guard.