Wheatley’s Cecilia Jozef was in a position she admittedly wanted nothing to do with. When the girls soccer team entered this season without a goalkeeper, Jozef realized her height would make her a capable option, but she wanted to play in the field.
“I came in the first day knowing we had a goalie issue and I was like ‘I do not like to play (goal),’” Jozef said. “They didn’t have anyone else and I knew I had to step up. I wasn’t going to let the team down when we knew it was best for winning and our season.”
That decision has certainly paid off as Jozef made multiple impressive saves as No. 1 Wheatley defeated No. 2 Carle Place, 2-0, Friday night at Cold Spring Harbor High School to win its second straight Nassau Class B championship.
Wheatley advances to play Babylon (17-0) in the Class B Long Island championship/Southeast regional Sunday at Bethpage High School at 3 p.m.
Wheatley utilized two first-half goals by Nikki Hetzel, the first assisted by Tiffany Bernot and the second from Ciara O’Brien. With Wheatley playing in Nassau A-II with talented, more populated schools, its 3-7-2 record doesn’t represent the team’s true accomplishment.
“I’m so proud of her,” said coach Michelle Santoro about Hetzel. “I think we were playing much more challenging teams and I kept telling her ‘Even the best athletes, the professionals, they have that moment where it just clicks and it’s all going to come together and it’s going to feel great’ and I’m happy to see it happen to her tonight in the county finals.”
The Wildcats backline, including Katie Gold, Julia Braito, Domenique Dunne and Kaitlin Schriefer, had a strong game to protect Jozef as Wheatley, which lost in the state semifinals last year, hopes to return to Cortland.
“It’s just the most amazing thing,” Hetzel said. “As a team we’ve been working so hard this whole entire season, This was our goal. All season, all we wanted to do was get here and we were all so determined.”