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Emma Hospodka perseveres, scores two goals in second half to lift South Side

South Side teammates celebrate after a goal by

South Side teammates celebrate after a goal by Emma Hospodka #15 breaks a scoreless tie in the second half of a rain-filled Nassau County AB1 girls soccer game at Valley Stream South High School on Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019.  Credit: James Escher

The visibility was spotty, but the objective was crystal clear for Emma Hospodka.

With the pouring rain getting stronger and stronger by the minute, the South Side girls soccer team kept the pressure on Valley Stream South. The vision on the field became tougher, but the goal remained at the forefront for Hospodka.

The sophomore midfielder/forward scored two goals in the second half to lead South Side to a 2-0 victory over host Valley Stream South in Nassau AB-I girls soccer Wednesday afternoon in the midst of strong rains and winds.

“It’s really crazy,” Hospodka said. “It was very difficult, but I think we came together and it was a really good win because everyone put their best foot forward.”

Hospodka scored her first goal with 28:17 remaining in the second half, and scored again with 21:57 remaining in the contest.

“I just knew we had to get it in the back of the net considering we lost to this team twice in a row,” Hospodka said. “So it was a really good win and we just had to finish it off.”

The referees and coaches stopped the game shortly after the second goal  because of the weather, with South Side leading 2-0 with 17:30 remaining in regulation.

“It was about safety,” South Side coach Jenn Abgarian said. “And league play isn’t as important as playoff play, so we don’t want to get anybody hurt in these conditions.”

South Side (5-5-1) outshot an injury-stricken Valley Stream South team 10-2 as the defending state Class A champions fell to 4-5-1 in the conference.

Abgarian was happy with how her team played, including the backline of Sydney Rathjen, Cristina LiCalzi, Maddy Wolfrom and Joanna Spaulding with Julia Cavanagh totaling two saves in net.

“In these conditions in general — and especially to play against Valley Stream in these conditions — they really stepped it up today,” Abgarian said.

The Cyclones, seemingly aptly named with Wednesday’s weather conditions, have won four straight games and are playing some of their best soccer with the postseason approaching. And the players weren’t going to let the rain get in their way.

“The ball was definitely skipping in the rain and not being able to see [was a challenge],” Hospodka said, “but I think our team really played through it well and we got the win, so it was good.”

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