NORTH SALEM, N.Y. – The playoff opener for North Salem girls soccer was a war of attrition.
After 90-plus minutes of battle with visiting Croton Harmon on Friday, Oct. 25, it was North Salem’s Lily Guiliano* who finally broke through to score the game’s one and only goal, ending a physical game between two evenly matched teams, identical even in mascots.
“The entire overtime periods were very tough but we knew a goal was coming,” said North Salem's Julia DeSanto. “The actual goal being scored was surreal; I actually had to make sure it was happening by looking at the crowd again and making sure it was all real. That was a moment I will never forget. It was absolutely the cherry on top to an amazing four seasons I've played here.”
Scoreless throughout, the match between the eighth- and ninth-seeded Section 1 Class B teams was at times tense and grueling. But the moment never got too big for the North Salem Tigers, whose preparation was key to them surviving over the Croton Harmon Tigers.
“We have been working for this moment since Aug. 19,” said co-captain Ellie Molina. “We ran 9 miles a day to prepare us for Friday’s game.”
The sage advice of Coach Robert Martin helped the athletes keep their composure, Molina said.
“One of my favorite sayings ‘Mart’ has for moments when tensions are high is ‘duck on a pond.’ Which means: Look peaceful and calm while the craziness of a game is [happening] ferociously underneath,” Molina said.
The win earned North Salem a trip to Pleasantville, where fell to the top-seeded Panthers, 4-0, in a quarterfinal match on Monday (Oct. 28).
“Pleasantville is a very good team,” DeSanto said. “They have such a variety of skills and have a very bright future in the sectional tournament. For the most part of the game we kept up with their speed. In order to win, it needed to be our finest played soccer for 80 full minutes. In letting up for a very short amount of time, they were able to capitalize and put in a few goals.”
An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Julia DeSanto scored the goal. We regret the error.