AshleeThompson wasn't Alice in Wonderland, Snooki, Lady Gaga or any other of the popular costumes this Halloween. She was a defender.

Normally a forward, and also the team’s leading scorer with five goals, Thompson shifted to the backfield for Sachem North and had the unenviable assignment of marking Hauppauge’s Stephanie Peragallo. The move paid off as No. 11 Sachem North shutdown No. 6 Hauppauge to win, 1-0, in the first round of the Class AA playoffs. Sachem North wins the game, Thompson wins best costume.

“Our plan was to neutralize a couple of key players, “Sachem North coach Claude Amallobieta said. “We put Ashlee to mark one of the most dangerous, if not the most dangerous players in the county. That was one of our keys to success.”

One of the other keys was Leanna Curcio. After the ball deflected off Emily Jones in the box, Curcio followed up and beat the keeper over the top to break a scoreless tie with 4:49 left in the first half.

“I thought we played a great team game,” Amallobieta said.  “I told them before the game we need to focus on those key players but offensively we need to play a team game. We need to spread them out and it was probably the best job we did all season getting the ball to the outside and that helped us in starting our attack. We are not a team that gets many opportunities unless we play it to the outside. Today we did a good job of that.”

Sachem North advances to host No. 14 Connetquot, who upset No. 3 East Islip in a shootout on Monday.

Hauppauge dominated possession for a majority of the game and created quality shots but couldn’t get one past Sachem North keeper Erin McNulty, who had 12 saves.

“We couldn’t finish,” Hauppauge coach Jesseca Kulesa said. “This is soccer. Unfortunately, the team that controls a majority of the game doesn’t always win. If you can’t take advantage of your opportunities, this is what can happen.”

The game was the last in the career of Peragallo, who carried Hauppauge to a Class A county title as a sophomore in 2009. A fourth-team all-state selection last season, Peragallo finished with 13 goals this year and led Hauppauge to an unexpected League IV title.

“It’s really difficult, especially knowing that there was a possibility we could have won,” Peragallo said. “It’s not as if we were blown out by any means. In the end, it was just because we weren’t finishing. We got all the chances we could and we were all working really hard, we just could not finish the ball today.

“It’s one disappointment for the season. We almost went undefeated in our league, we’re league champs. With the standings in the beginning of the season, some people may not have thought that we would have come up as successful as we did. Between that and the family that we built on this team, I’m very happy with what we accomplished.”

Peragallo was emotional after the game when asked about this not just being her last soccer game before she moves onto Notre Dame next fall to play lacrosse.

“I don’t really know how it’s going to be,” she said as she got choked up. “I’ve never not played soccer. I know regardless of what happens, soccer will always be a big part of my life. It’s mostly just the team thing that I’m so into. It’s going to be rough not playing soccer, but I’ll be ok.”


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