Just 2.5 seconds separated Bayport-Blue Point from a county championship.
Nicole Copping’s go-ahead goal (pictured) put Bayport ahead 2-1 with 4:32 remaining. The celebration was about to begin.
But Islip tied the game on a Morgan Santoro corner kick that was headed in by Jessica Sparks with 2.5 seconds remaining. Islip went on to win, 3-2, in overtime on a golden goal by Dominique Capolongo to bring an end to what was a great season by Bayport.
It was a season in which Rebecca Raber and company won the second league title in program history and put Bayport on the brink of county supremacy. It didn’t end the way they had hoped but it was a season to be proud of.
Newsday caught up with Bayport-Blue Point coach Ryan Gick to discuss the heartbreaking loss and the future of the Bayport-Blue Point girls soccer program:
You were that close to a county championship, how disappointing of a loss was that?
“I think it was more of a shock to lose in such a manner. It’s definitely one of the tougher losses I’ve experienced and I’m sure that my kids have experienced. You work hard all year and you’re putting all you have out there on the field and you end up losing it. It’s tough to swallow."
What was going through your mind during the corner kick at the end of regulation?
“I think it was a little hectic because some people didn’t see a deflection and some people did. I’m not saying whether I did or didn’t. I didn’t know what was going on at first. I see my keeper running up the hill to get the ball then I saw one of the linesman point to the flag. So I was more concerned about her getting back in goal at first. It was just a crazy 15 seconds. There was nothing I could have said in that time span to try to object something to stop that corner from happening."
How were the girls after the game?
“It was pretty traumatizing for a lot of them. The seniors were most upset, last game losing that way. They’re a tough group. They stuck together all year and they’ll stand by each other through this. It’s going to be tough for a week or two but they’ll eventually move on. They have a lot of big things to look forward to it their lives to get over this one.”
What do you say to the team after a loss like that?
“I just told them I was proud to be their coach. From day one they’ve put 110 percent into practice and every game. I said the only thing to be upset about would be if we didn’t put our best effort and we did. There’s no shame in losing, there always has to be a loser. We lost but we gave it our best effort so I just told them keep your heads high.”
How do you view the season overall?
“I thought it was a great success. We won our first league title in ten years, the second in our programs history. I think the program has taken a step in a great direction. We saw an improvement from this group and it’s something we’re very proud of. I’m very happy. It would have been nice to end it with a championship but it doesn’t always work that way.”
How will the team look next year?
“We’re losing a tough senior group. But we had eighth graders playing Wednesday who got called up at the end of the year. Almost our entire defense returns, minus one player. We split time with our keepers so we return a starter basically with one of our keepers. We lose two big time center midfielders in Rebecca Raber and Abby Grappusso, who are beasts in there. They win 50/50 balls and head balls and they’re just tough as nails. Losing that physical side of the game might be tough but I think someone will step into that role so we’ll see.”
What has Rebecca Raber meant to the program?
“As an eighth grader she went to the state semifinals and she played a lot as an outside half back in her eighth grade year. Those experiences for her made her into the leader she is and how motivated she was to get this team back to the state level. It really was a goal for the team, unfortunately we didn’t reach it. I think her and a couple of the girls who were on that team back in 2007, they tasted it once, they wanted to go back, they wanted a second chance at it. Unfortunately, we thought we were close to it but it kind of turned on us at the end there.”