After numerous scoring chances just missing the mark, Smithtown West’s Sarah Harrington wasn’t going to let this one get away.
After a scoreless regulation and first overtime that totaled 90 minutes, Smithtown West’s girls soccer team kept fighting. In a physical game on both sides, Harrington used her size to her advantage, quickly getting up from the ground after tangling with goalkeeper Alexis Saladino and beating two defenders to score the winning goal on a header 1:49 into the second overtime in a 1-0 win over host Newfield on Tuesday.
“That was pretty awesome,” Harrington said. “I got a little emotional, too, because I just love my team and we all work so hard and it finally paid off.”
That hard work earned the Bulls a Suffolk III championship, the first since winning the title during Harrington’s sophomore season two years ago. She knew that the bouncing ball in the box sent in by Sarah Wilkinson was her chance to win another.
“I hit it up and I was like ‘I know I got to get to this because all I want is a league championship. I just want it so bad,’” Harrington said. “So after I saw it up in the air, I knew I could beat them on the high ball and luckily it went in.”
But Newfield (7-2-2) wasn’t about to quit after 92 strong minutes. Domineek Alexander beat a pair of Smithtown West defenders before firing a shot on net. Gabby Lorefice dove to her right to push the ball aside for one of her six saves in the shutout with 1:08 left in the second overtime.
“I got scared,” Lorefice said. “I thought she was going to pop it over my head but then, I don’t know, my adrenaline was racing. I was very excited after that save.”
Defenders Lisa DiGiulio, Jillian Unkenholz, Emily Bernabeo and Sara Wallace helped Lorefice throughout. Smithtown West (12-0) has recorded five straight shutouts, which the sophomore goalie credits to the defense, saying, “I think I have the best back line.”
Newfield’s back line of Olivia Veintimilla, Vaneeya Volino, Rebecca Regensburger and Taylor Regensburger had a strong game containing the Bulls’ playmakers. They were bolstered by Saladino, a junior who has started since eighth grade. Saladino took multiple hits in net, finishing the game with 12 saves.
“We know she’s going to be good,” said Newfield coach Domenik Veraldi of Saladino, “but she seems to just exceed expectations every single year she comes in.
“When it came down to it, they made one extra play,” Veraldi said. “And the ball ended up in the back of the net.”