Clutch Connection: Somers Tops John Jay in OT

Somers celebrates goal by Alex Pittman (leaping, left) in overtime against John Jay. Credits: Rob DiAntonio

SOMERS, N.Y.— Somers’ girls soccer team knew it was just 20 minutes away from a scoreless tie with John Jay-Cross River, which would result in it falling short of the league championship.

The Tuskers weren’t about to let that happen.

Junior Alex Pittman scored just 1:06 into overtime and the Tuskers held the Indians at bay the rest of the way to pull out a 1-0 win on Saturday, Oct. 14. The win secured a share of the Conference 1 League C title with John Jay.

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“This game meant so much to us,” senior captain Amanda Brugger said. “We were struggling in the beginning of the season and now we became such a team and such a family. That’s what we’ve been striving for all year. After the Arlington (loss) we were a little down, but this win brought us up and we’re ready for sectionals.

“We knew how much it hurt losing at [John Jay’s] field. We knew we were the better team today.”

Pittman’s goal came on a header, which she deposited into the left corner of the net, after a perfectly placed curling pass from freshman Noelle DeMarinis.

“I was just running up the field and I was hoping for it. I was really working hard to get that goal,” Pittman said. “I was just so happy. The whole team really came together. Coach (Paul Saia) said (before overtime) that, ‘You’ve got to put your heart in and work really hard.’ We all just really wanted to win because last time we lost to them and we wanted that league title.”

Senior Lauren Jockimo, who finished with seven saves, negated John Jay’s last-ditch effort on a throw in with seconds remaining. She scooped the ball up and the whistle blew seconds later as the Tuskers mobbed the field in pure joy.

“I knew I had to put it all on the line,” Jockimo said. “I knew this was the last shot. The save wasn’t just for me, it was for the whole team. This game meant everything to us, especially as a senior. It was everything you could ask for. We have a phenomenal team this year and we knew we had the heart and the talent. This meant the world to us. How the game ended was exactly what we wanted.”

The Tusker defense came through time and again. Jockimo made a save on a direct kick with three minutes left in the first overtime. With seven minutes remaining in the second overtime period, a corner tipped off Jockimo’s hands, but Mia Klayman was there to clear it off the line.

“We have a solid defense and we were able to get to them and slow them down,” Jockimo said. “We got on top of them and denied them every shot they had. Claire Mensi played sweeper and did a phenomenal job getting back and getting to the ball. We had Alix Goldman and Mia Klayman on the outside, doing great (covering) their man and just getting the ball up and denying the outsides any shot. Amanda Brugger, Alexis Atkinson and Noelle DeMarinis all did a great job and shut everything down.”

Somers learned from each of its four setbacks this season, which helped them grow over the course of the season and capture the league title.

“From the four losses we’ve had, it showed that it takes a loss to win a few,” Pittman said. “It really made us come together and realize what was important. This game (with John Jay) was really important so we came together and proved we could do it.”

In a 3-0 win over Lakeland on Oct. 12, Mensi (1G), DeMarinis (1G), Sarah DiRubbo (1G), Dahlia Pepe (2A), Ella Beresford (1A) and Jockimo (4 saves) led the way.

Jockimo made 26 saves in a 4-1 loss to undefeated Arlington. Kayleigh Kenny’s goal was the first goal scored against the Admirals all season. Jessica Rodriguez had the assist.

Somers closed out the regular season with a 1-0 senior night win over visiting Beacon on Oct. 16. Danielle Cucchiarella notched the lone goal with the assist coming from Rodriguez.

“We haven’t peaked yet,” Brugger said. “We’ve switched our formation so many times and I think we’ve finally found a stable formation. We’re just trying to build off that.”

The Tuskers finished the regular season with a 11-4-1 record and head into sectionals riding a three-game winning streak.

“I think we’re playing amazing but we just have so much potential,” Jockimo said. “We have so much untouched talent. I think the best is yet to come.”

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