Persistence is the key for the Manhasset girls soccer team, whether that comes from attacking the opponent’s goal, or defending its own.
Despite entering with three straight conference one-goal losses and hosting first-place North Shore, the Indians were determined to put a different result on the scoreboard, which is exactly what they did behind timely goals from Brianna Stollsteimer and Madison Rielly and a strong defense in their 2-1 Nassau AB-I victory on Wednesday.
“After the goal that we let up, we didn’t even let it slip our mind,” defender Olivia Wesch said. “I looked at [goalkeeper Ava Albanese], I looked at all my teammates and I said ‘Let’s go, leave nothing on this [field] and we’re going to win this game. It’s been hard because we haven’t had a great season, but we know it’s coming and it finally came today.”
With North Shore (5-2-1) pushing the ball throughout the game, the Manhasset backline of Wesch, Casey Roszko, Caroline Mondiello and Laura Ferraris with Albanese in net stayed strong. Albanese, with her nine saves, was there to make key saves whenever needed.
“I think half the shots would go in if they weren’t there,” said Albanese, crediting her defense. “It’s great because we work well together and I think that’s the reason we won today.”
Manhasset (3-3-2) struck first off a scramble in front of the net, in which the Indians sent two shots off the crossbar before Stollsteimer scored on a header off a rebound with 11:43 left in the first half.
“I just knew to stay in there,” Stollsteimer said. “I know always keep pressing, never give up the play.”
Rielly added the second goal, and eventual winner, from in front off a cross from Olivia Dooley with 33:23 left in the game.
“It was a relief,” Rielly said. “It definitely helped our team, I think, to be up by two so we can have that comfort.”
North Shore’s offense continued creating chances, eventually scoring with 25:27 left in the game off Isabella DiBenedetto’s corner-kick, headed in by Taylor Berry. But the Manhasset defense, which coach Chris Keen called “the best in the county,” preserved the win.
“I told the girls we need to peak at the right time, and this is the time to peak,” Keen said. “This is the game that our season will turn around on.”