Massapequa avenges loss to Syosset, wins Nassau AA girls soccer title
It’s a rarity that a team gets the chance to avenge a championship loss in the same calendar year, but that’s the mission the Massapequa girls soccer team has been on since April.
Massapequa never forgot that feeling of walking off the field with a county championship loss last season in April 2021 after the COVID-19 pandemic altered the Long Island sports schedules. Seven months later, Massapequa had another chance to win a title against Syosset, the team that won last season’s county championship.
"After having that feeling last year, we knew we didn’t want that ever again," senior midfielder Mia Baldinger said. "It was our thought right from the start. We were going to get revenge and we knew it would most likely be against Syosset and we knew we weren’t going to let them win."
Top-seeded Massapequa accomplished just that with a 3-1 victory over No. 3 Syosset in the girls soccer Nassau Class AA final at Cold Spring Harbor High School Monday evening.
"I think we just refused to lose after last season," senior forward Gianna Savella said. "Everybody worked so hard for this."
Massapequa (17-0-1), with 16 county titles in the last 19 seasons, advances to play the winner of Smithtown East/Smithtown West in the Long Island Class AA championship/Southeast Regional Final at Shoreham-Wading River High School Saturday at 4 p.m.
Baldinger scored the winning goal off a scrum in front of the net off an assist from Jessica Lynskey following a corner kick by McKayla Schneidler with 27:51 remaining in the second half.
"I knew if it was just one little flick, I was going to do whatever to get it in," Baldinger said. "Knowing that if I scored that would be one of the game-changing goals, I knew I had to get it done."
Even the coaching staff admitted last season’s end was tough to shake off.
"We’ve tried to lower that during the season and not have that be the focus," assistant coach Ron Forman said. "But we know for every one of them, ourselves included, this was something we were looking forward to."
Syosset (10-5-1) struck first when Sofia Cummo finished a cross from Brooke Barrie in the game’s third minute. Massapequa answered when Thalia Morisi scored from 15 yards off an assist from Lia Howard with 27:58 remaining in the first half.
Savella scored the game’s final goal after taking a breakaway from about midfield with 7:25 remaining in the second half.
"I got a perfect ball played to me, all I had to there was place it in the goal," Savella said. "We practice that religiously, so I have to thank my coaches and my teammates behind me for that one"
Mary Stork, who had four saves, made a key stop early in the second half. The senior saved a quality shot and scoring chance by Syosset’s Bella Romano with 37:30 remaining in the second half to keep the score tied at 1.
"I just knew I had to pull through," Stork said. "Everyone was pushing so hard on the field and giving it their all, so I had to, too."
But the Massapequa mission isn't complete yet. Massapequa wants to win its first state title since 2015.
"I think we can win it all," Savella said. "This is a really special group of girls and we made it this far, so I think we can make it all the way."