ARLINGTON, N.Y. – The Mahopac girls’ soccer team went from their highest high to their lowest low in a three-day span last week, as the Indians shocked No. 1 seed Arlington, 2-1, in the semifinals (Oct. 31), but then suffered the same fate themselves, falling to North Rockland, 2-1, in Sunday’s championship game.
In the Section 1 Class AA finals at Arlington High School, No. 2 North Rockland (17-2) held a 1-0 advantage at halftime on a goal from Shannon McGovern, with 5:26 left in the first half, and added a goal in the second half by Kelly Brady—to win the AA title.
No. 4 Mahopac (16-4) tied the game at 1-1 early in the second half, when Mia Klammer (who was tackled in the box) converted on a penalty kick.
But the Indians could not keep the speedier Raiders out of the net.
McGovern scored the game-winner for North Rockland with about 18 minutes remaining, finishing on a sharp angle after drawing ‘Pac keeper Isabel Omboni out of the net.
Mahopac, which had lost to North Rockland (4-1) during the regular season, was not at full strength during that game, and was hoping that a full team would make a difference.
“We were missing Grace (DiVincenzo) and Shannon (Becker) in that game, so we weren’t at full strength,“ said Mahopac coach Casey Carroll. “We were thinking at full strength we would play a better game.
“But I’m really proud of the girls, they left their hearts on the field,“ Carroll added. “We had some opportunities we didn’t put away. If we finish those, the game goes a different way. And a few calls didn’t go our way… Overall I thought we played a great game. At times North Rockland had more control, but it went in spurts.”
Both games also featured a highly physical style of play.
“It was definitely a bit more physical than we were expecting,“ Carroll said. “We broke down one or two times defensively, and they really took advantage. We absolutely had some good opportunities that we did not convert. Their speed definitely hurt us in transition.“
Omboni (13 saves) and the defense had a brilliant game, keeping the Indians in the game. Mia Klammer and Grace DiVincenzo were everywhere trying to create or finish, but both drew extra attention from the Raiders defense, designed to slow the high-scoring pair.
“Isabel had one of the better games I’ve seen her play,“ Carroll said. “She was coming off a shoulder injury, and I know she felt it during the game. But she played an amazing game. Mia was also amazing. She gets fouled so much, never complains. She has the motivation and heart to be out there, and she’s so quick and talented.
“Jenna Daly really had a good game in the center of the field,” Carroll added. “She marked their best scorer, and did a great job. Maddy DeCola at center back has been strong for us all year and really played a good game. And Grace and Christina (Lopreato) both were amazing. Grace was heartbroken she didn’t score, but she’s such an amazing player, she still had a great game.”
The prior Thursday at Arlington High School, the Indians stunned the three-time defending champion (13-4-1) with two late second-half goals.
Alyssa Chiulli tied the game at 1-1 for Mahopac midway through the second half, converting on a beautiful direct kick from deep down the left sideline, which sailed high and curved into the far corner of the net.
The goal gave the Indians new life, and changed the game quickly.
“After that it was like night and day,“ Carroll said. “That sparked the fire they needed, that sparked our motivation and lifted our energy level.”
And in the final minutes—with 1:45 showing—Mahopac’s efforts were rewarded, when Hailey Pereira sent a ball inside to Marissa McCarney, who finished it with a head shot, sending the Indians into a frenzy. “Hailey sent a beautiful ball in, and Marissa headed it into the net, it was a picture-perfect goal,“ Carroll said.
“We knew then it was within reach, we knew we just had to defend under two minutes,” the coach added. “Arlington has always been the powerhouse. We lost both games during the season to them, and to upset the No. 1 seed is something you work for all season. It’s a feeling you can’t describe when all of your work comes to fruition. We really played well all over the field, in every aspect, the girls were just amazing that day.”
Carroll said Mahopac played perhaps its best defensive game of the season.
“Maddy and Christina in the back were terrific,“ she said. “Defensively, that was one of the best games we’ve had. And Alyssa and Marissa scoring were both great. Arlington really paid a lot of attention to Mia (Klammer) and Grace (DiVincenzo). And they were both really good, but it was definitely great to see other girls step up and put goals in the back of the net.”
Omboni finished with 7 saves in the win.