SCARSDALE, N.Y.— It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.
That was certainly true for the Mahopac girls varsity soccer team as it traveled to Scarsdale on Saturday.
After the two teams were locked in a scoreless tie at the end of regulation, Scarsdale took advantage of an opportunity and scored just a minute into the first 10-minute overtime period.
Then with time running out in the second 10-minute overtime, Mahopac’s Carly Steinberg lined up for a direct kick outside the box, determined to finish strong.
“All my anger from the whole game...everyone on the team, we were so frustrated (that we couldn’t score),” Steinberg said. “I felt this is it—less than two minutes—this is our last chance. I hit the crossbar and they finished it. No matter what obstacles are thrown at us, no matter if you knock us down, we’re going to come back strong to the final whistle.”
Steinberg drilled her kick off the crossbar and it appeared to come straight down into the goal, but bounced back out. Ailis Martin made sure and headed it back in for the goal to knot the score back up at 1-1.
That was how it ended less than a minute later, and the Mahopac girls were able to walk off with a smile as they snatched a tie out of what seemed to be a bitter defeat.
The Indians felt a sense of relief after 98 minutes of frustration.
“I thought it was in already, but I didn’t hear them call it so I knew we had to get to the ball and finish it up,” Martin said. “It was an even game throughout and we knew we had to finish strong. This team has shown when times get tough we’re able to finish. It felt really good, we didn’t give up.”
That effort at the end made the difference as Mahopac came home with a 1-1 tie and the Indians’ record now stands at 5-1-1 overall.
Both teams knew it would be a tough game as two of the top teams in Section 1 in Class AA squared off against each other. Each team had just one loss coming into the game.
The game lived up to its billing as both teams fought hard to earn any scoring chances. After a slow first half on a hot day, both teams picked up the pressure in the second half.
Mahopac had a number of corners and came close with a shot off the crossbar, but Scarsdale also came close with a shot bouncing off the crossbar.
Scarsdale got the first break in overtime with an indirect kick inside the box, and Carly Rubin was able to drill it home to give the Raiders a 1-0 lead.
That’s the way it stood until time was running out in the final overtime period and Steinberg lined up for the direct kick and a dramatic finish for the Indians.
“We give up a goal and we just band together and fight and find a way to score to pick each other up,” Mahopac coach Ross Fumusa said. “They’ve done a really nice job coming together. The whole team just would not accept a loss today. They just kept pounding away to get the tie. They showed their character today.”
It was a defensive battle throughout as both teams stood strong to deny many scoring opportunities.
Coach Fumusa was quick to point out the strong performance for the Indians on defense as they limited a strong Scarsdale attack.
“Defensively, we put Ailis Martin back at sweeper. Her and Emma Goodrow did a really nice job,” Fumusa said. “Our defense as a whole really stepped up and limited their shots.”
For Mahopac, the Scarsdale game was a test as the Indians head into a string of games against tough opponents. The Indians were set to travel to John Jay-East Fishkill on Monday, Sept. 25, and then return home to host Roy C. Ketcham the next day. Mahopac hosts rival Somers on Monday, Oct. 2, at 4:15 p.m. with a game on the road the next day at Arlington at 4:30 p.m.