Emily Sanders goes by “Soccer Sanders.” And for good reason.
The St. Anthony’s defender uses the name on social media platforms, so naturally, that’s how she is referred to in school. And after scoring a goal and assisting on another in the Friars’ 2-0 home victory over Sacred Heart Monday in CHSAA girls soccer, her teammates chanted her nickname in a postgame celebration.
“Everyone in the school, they don’t know my name,” said Sanders, of Coram. “They know me as ‘Soccer Sanders.’”
On Monday, she proved why. With a powerful leg, Sanders often is sending crosses to set up her teammates for goals. But against the Spartans, she delivered a goal from 40 yards out, even if it wasn’t exactly how she pictured the play.
“Actually, I was trying to cross the ball,” Sanders said. “But when it went in, I was just as happy as if it was a cross for one of the forwards to finish it. The whole season, I told myself one game I wanted to score and I wanted it to be amazing and this was definitely the game to score the goal.”
The senior’s goal with 8:04 remaining was the final goal. Brianna Passaro scored the first off her own rebound following Sanders playing a ball 30 yards into the box less than seven minutes into the second half.
“Emily had a great cross in and I saw the opening in the middle, so I went for it,” said Passaro, of Commack. “After she saved it, it was still in the air so I just tapped it over her head.”
St. Anthony’s (3-0) pushed on offense throughout, especially in the second half. The Sacred Heart backline, featuring Regan Carroll, Claire Carney, Melissa Biscardi and Lauren Wasserman, did a good job limiting the Friars’ opportunities, with Sara Micheli making 10 saves.
St. Anthony’s’ backline of Sophia Iaccino, Christine Fabrizi, Alexandra Milano and Sanders, with Kaitlyn Mahoney totaling six saves, kept Sacred Heart (3-1) off the scoreboard in the rivalry matchup.
“We all knew it was going to be a bloodbath,” said Iaccino, of Farmingdale, “and this is our biggest game, our biggest competitor, so basically the main way to win is to work together as a team.”
But in the end, it was the powerful leg of “Soccer Sanders” delivering the win.
“It was icing on the cake because for me, it was the best game I’ve ever seen her play,” coach Sue Alber said. “I thought she was deserving of getting a goal and at least that assist, so I’m very proud of her.”