The Archbishop Molloy players fell to the ground, some to their knees and others flat on their backs as the tears and emotions flowed out.
“I’m in disbelief that I’ll never put my Molloy soccer uniform on again,” Stanners senior goalie Kaitlyn Biscotti said.
Her team battled through 110 minutes of scoreless soccer before falling 4-3 in penalty kicks to visiting Holy Trinity in the Nassau/Suffolk Class A girls’ soccer semifinals Oct. 26 at Alley Pond Park. No. 2 Molloy, which won two of the last three titles, won the teams’ first meeting and tied in the second.
“I’ve never been prouder of team,” first-year Stanners Coach Fabian Chong said. “I’ve been coaching this game for a long time and these girls have shown me more heart than I’ve ever seen in my life.”
Molloy (7-6-1) twice had chances to put the pressure fully on Trinity (4-9-1) after Biscotti made saves on their first and third attempts, but Titans freshman keeper Mariana Mallen came up with stops of her own. On the sixth attempt Brianna Donlon, the niece of Molloy boys’ soccer Coach Andy Kostel, fired a shot to the left post that hit off Biscotti’s outstretched hands and went in. Kristen Loyner’s shot sailed just wide to end it.
“It took a bad hop off my hand,” Biscotti said.
Chong put the blame on himself. He opted to have sophomore Emily Hanna take the first PK because she had been converting them in practice. He felt strongly about using her, but she was sitting on the sideline during the game and ended up having her shot stopped.
“This is on me,” he said. “I put someone in who was lights out in our practice round in penalty kicks. She didn’t warm up. That’s my fault. That’s on me.”
Trinity had the best scoring chance during game action. In the 45th minute Kaitylin Meyer’s 20-yard free kick hit the bottom of the crossbar and went straight down, but did not cross the goal line. The rebound shot hit the top right corner of the post. The Titans controlled play until midway through the second half, failing to convert a bevy of corner and free kicks.
The Stanners responded with three quality-scoring chances in a span of three minutes starting in the 58th minute. Victoria Antonino, who Chong said was playing with a severe ankle sprain, beat two defenders and chipped the ball over the goal. Casey Collins sent a cross in front of an open net that Loyer could not get a foot on and Antonino missed a shot wide from the top of the box. In the opening minutes of the second half Collins’ chip from 8 yards was saved by a leaping Mallen.
“It’s not one person’s fault,” Collins said. “It shouldn’t have gotten down to [a shootout]. It happened. In practice we were talking about how this happened in the World Cup and it’s not going to happen to us.”
She said the fact that their season was over had not quite sunk in yet.
“Tomorrow it will sink in even harder,” Collins said. “I can’t even believe this is my last time playing with Molloy, playing with these girls.”
©2011 Community Newspaper Group
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