The Babylon girls soccer team didn’t want the same dramatics as last season participating in penalty kicks in a county title game.
And with 6:35 remaining in the second overtime, Sophie Ryan made sure that wouldn’t happen when she scored the winning goal off an assist from Tegan Castellucio, sending a ball from 20 yards on the ground from the left side to the right corner of the net and then a dogpile ensued after the 2-1 victory over Mattituck on Friday night.
“I’m just really happy,” Ryan said. “I was crying when everyone was hugging me. I’m just happy that we didn’t have to go to penalty [kicks] and we’re going to LICs.”
Babylon (17-0) plays the Nassau B champion at 2 p.m. Nov. 5 at Bethpage in the Long Island final / Southeast regional with a trip to Cortland to play in the state semifinal on the line.
Coach Frank Mancuso said that although many of the things Ryan does for the team might not show up in a box score, he wasn’t surprised she could be the one deciding the game. “I didn’t really lose faith that we were going to get it done,” Mancuso said. “It was just a matter of who was going to step up at the right time.”
Babylon, which has made one-sided victories a habit in its undefeated season, didn’t get anything easy from Mattituck, especially its goalkeeper Sarah Santacroce, who had with 16 saves.
“They played us tougher today than anybody has all season,” Mancuso said. “She’s probably the best keeper that we’ve seen in terms of the performance. Everywhere we put the ball, she seemed to be there.”
Mattituck (13-5) struck first when Claire Gatz finished a cross from Amber Rochon with 28:13 remaining in the first half.
But the Panthers took the ensuing possession down the field when Erin MacQuarrine sent a ball in, which the keeper saved, but Sam Giovinazzo was there to score on the rebound with 27:33 left — 40 seconds after Mattituck’s goal — to tie it at 1.
Babylon continued to push the pace but the Mattituck back line, including Brianna Fox, Alex Beebee, Chelsea Marlborough, Lauren Zuhoski and Jordyn Maichin, and Santacroce kept the Panthers out of the back of the net.
The Babylon defense, including MacQuarrine, Dana Bushery, Amanda Guerra, Molly Cummings and Leah Gregory with Grace Malley’s eight saves in net did its part to keep Mattituck off the scoreboard in the half and bringing the Panthers their second straight county title.