The ball came off the right foot of Samantha Hogan and looked as if it would clear the crossbar. The well-placed blast from about 20 yards out snuck just under the crossbar in the upper left of the cage and turned out to be the difference in Kings Park’s 1-0 win over previously undefeated Islip yesterday in a Suffolk V girls’ soccer game.
The lone goal of the game came in the 53rd minute of play.
The junior forward converted a through pass from senior Lauren Velleca, who saw her to the right side of the box and played the ball neatly through the defense. Hogan split two defenders and dribbled within shooting distance and let it fly.
“[Velleccia] passed me the ball, I saw an opportunity and I had to make sure I took advantage of it,” said Hogan, who scored her seventh goal of the season. “It was a tricky angle, far out and I just shot it. I’m glad I made it.”
The winning goal handed Islip (8-1-1) its first loss of the season. And it served as a bit of redemption for Kings Park (8-2), which was beaten by Islip earlier this season by the same score.
In both contests the teams played a scoreless first half.
“I feel like we played better today,” said Kings Park coach Bryan LoPalo. “[Islip] outplayed us last time and I felt like we didn’t play our style of soccer. Today, we tried to focus on ourselves, not them, and just stay composed.”
No one was more composed than keeper Nicole Scott. She had a brilliant first half, holding Islip scoreless with four saves, including a stop on a one-on-one breakaway.
“Whenever I come out of the area in front of the goal, I give it my all to make a play,” Scott said. “I like to play fearless . . . but at the same time play smart soccer.”
LoPalo is a big fan of Scott’s style and intensity.
“[Scott] is the hardest working girl on our team,” LoPalo said. “She’s always pumped and we feed off our energy.”
Scott turned away two shots in the second half to preserve the win, recording her third shutout of the season.
“Coach gave us a good speech at the half and told us to pick up our energy and our intensity,” Hogan said. “When everyone picks it up, the team comes together, works hard to connect passes, make through balls and provide great opportunities for the forwards.”
They only needed to connect on one. And now they have a shot at the league’s regular season title.