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Late DeLeon goal pushes Terriers past Molloy

Molloy's Kelly Grogan and St. Francis Prep's Autumn Brown battle for the ball. Photo by Ken Maldonado
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It’s the type of big goal St. Francis Prep has come to expect from Sophia DeLeon.

The junior had her back to the net, the ball at her feet and time running low. She quickly turned, shot and placed the ball just under the crossbar and out of the reach of Archbishop Molloy goalie Victoria Gianatiempo for what proved to be the winner in the 71st minute.

“I always look for the shot,” DeLeon said. “So even though I didn’t have much space on it, I went for it just because we were tied and it was almost the end of the game.”

Taking the chance paid off.

She was able to fit the ball in the one spot it had a chance to go in to help propel St. Francis Prep to a 2-0 victory over rival Molloy (5-7-1) in CHSAA Nassau/Suffolk girls’ soccer on Senior Day at Fort Totten Oct. 16. It is the Terriers’ sixth win over the Stanners in the last seven years.

“She’s done this many times,” Terriers Coach John Jenkins said. “She’s a goal scorer. She turned with her back to the goal, gave us that one and that’s what changed the game.”

The momentum from the goal sparked SFP. Four minutes later Alyssa Argento beat Gianatiempo to her right for a goal to solidify the lead late in the game.

“When you score, all of a sudden you have momentum,” Jenkins said. “They have all this adrenaline and they’re hyped to go and they’re not standing around.”

Momentum was the key for St. Francis Prep (5-7-1) and it started building with a huge save by keeper Samantha Cobotic. With the Molloy offense bearing down Cobotic leapt to knock a shot by Gina Giraldi out of the air and over the cross bar to keep the game scoreless.

“Sam is incredible,” DeLeon said. “I can’t even describe how great she is. She is a ninja out there.”

Molloy Coach Fabian Chong called the save a turning point in the contest.

“If that one goes in then we have momentum, and that’s a huge thing in sports,” he said.

Chong was happy with the team’s effort, but knows some adjustments must be made moving forward.

“I want us to get a little bit crisper on some of our passes,” Chong said. “We have to get better at finishing, but all in all I’m very, very proud of the way we played today.”

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