Pearl River Rallies to Shock Somers in Finals

Ciara Ostrander, left, gets tangled up while battling for possession in the semifinals. Credits: Rob DiAntonio

YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, N.Y.— Top-seeded Somers enjoyed another outstanding campaign this fall but it came to an end with a stunning 2-1 loss to sixth-seeded Pearl River in the Section 1 Class A girls soccer championship game at Yorktown High School on Oct. 30.

Somers took the lead on a first-half goal by Ciara Ostrander with 4:33 left in the first half off a feed from Melina Couzis.

The Pirates scored twice after halftime, enabling them to take home the crown. They scored just minutes into the second half and took the lead on a goal by Shaelynn Guilfoyle with 16:53 to play.

Sign Up for E-News

“The momentum in the second half favored Pearl River,” said Couzis, a senior. “I think their coach fired them up and they came out stronger than we did.”

Pearl River stayed on the aggressive during a steady rain. Tusker keeper Lauren Jockimo made a diving save on a direct kick with 26:20 remaining. Six minutes later Pearl River was fouled just outside the box and the shot sailed over the crossbar.

The game was delayed for 30 minutes due to lightning just minutes into the contest.

Despite the loss, it couldn’t take away from the success the Tuskers have enjoyed in recent years, which includes an undefeated state title season in 2014 and sectional crown in 2015.

“Our team has been so successful because of the chemistry we have on and off the field,” Couzis said. “We are a family and we can trust each other. That’s what makes a good team, that ability to believe that everyone is going to fight their individual battles so the team can prevail.”

While Couzis obviously enjoyed the winning, what she will miss most about playing at Somers are her teammates.

“I am going to miss playing with my friends,” Couzis said. “This was the last time I will ever play with my friends that I have had since second grade. But having the opportunity to grow as a person and soccer player with these girls is something I will cherish.”

Somers rallied in the semifinals to beat visiting John Jay-Cross River 4-2 on Oct. 28, overcoming a 2-1 halftime deficit.

The Tuskers did that in part by showing plenty of grit and determination to advance in sectional play and defeat one of their local rivals, by outscoring them 3-0 in the second half.

“The key coming back in the second half was the amount of heart we put into the game,” Couzis said. “We came out and left everything on the field and refused to lose.”

Somers showed that refuse to loss attitude when it tied it up on a long throw by Jenna Menta (1A) where Couzis headed it to Ali Kalayjian, who scored to knot the game at 2-2.

Menta’s ability to throw-in has been a weapon throughout her career with the Tuskers and it showed on that play when Somers and its coach Paul Saia needed it most.

“Jenna’s throw-in has been a weapon since sophomore year and we have really developed that connection because it’s so dangerous,” Couzis said. “The team knows this, and coach Saia emphasizes the importance on going to the ball so I think this goal was scored because of this mindset placed on the team.”

Couzis then scored to put Somers up 3-2 and it didn’t look back after that against the Indians. Menta slipped a pass to the net on a free kick and Couzis headed it in.

“I saw the trajectory of the ball and just went for it,” Couzis said. “I knew that because the way the ball was going if I got a touch the goalie had no chance.”

Ostrander (1G, 1A), Katrina Kurtz (1G), Jockimo (3 saves) and Lauren Chiriboga (2 saves) also got into box score versus John Jay.

Two days earlier, the Tuskers (16-3-1) hosted and defeated Tappan Zee in the quarterfinals 6-0, with Somers scoring all of its goals in the first half.

Couzis (5A), Kurtz (2G), Ostrander (2G), Menta (1G, 1A), Kalayjian (1G), Chiriboga (6 saves) and Jockimo (4 saves) all produced against the Rockland County-based school.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Momma's birds fled the nest

This year I was late in setting up my deck. Call it procrastination, muggy weather or whatever excuse, I finally got to it last week. With help from son, George, we set up the outdoor dining table and chairs; he methodically placed the flower boxes on the railing: “they have to be evenly spaced!”

We did have a concern: what about the nest the sweet little birds had built under the ...

Be-bop near the train stop

Last Friday was such a nice day we decided to head down to Tarrytown and take in some jazz in Pierson Park for the Friday Evening Concert Series. If you’re in the mood for it, a little jazz can be just the thing. Much of it is instrumental, so you don’t even have to sing along. Every time I see a rock band these days, they start the song, get to the chorus and then stick the mic out ...

Semantic revision of history

The latest fiasco I’ve read about is the renaming of the “Laura Ingalls Wilder Award” to the “Children’s Literature Legacy Award.” Why? Because the renowned author of Little House On The Prairie portrayed Native Americans (American Indians) in stereotypical language.

I must inject a personal experience here. A great friend of mine many years ago was Red ...

You’ll Get a Kick out of Musical Classic ‘Anything Goes’

I’ve loved Broadway musicals since I was smaller than a piano bench. That’s one reason I enjoy writing about local productions in this space. The more people who go to musicals, the happier it makes me.

I didn’t realize how old-fashioned about musicals I could be, though, until my wife Elyse and I at long last saw “Wicked.” It only took us 15 years to get there.

The Adventures of Superdog

I was always very impressed that my dog could bark on command and come when I called his name, until I read in the newspaper about a dog that saved his owner’s life by calling 9-1-1. Apparently, when his owner had a seizure, the dog pushed a speed-dial button for 9-1-1, barked into the receiver for help, and then opened the door when the responders arrived.

Honestly, though, it’s ...

Upcoming Events


Tue, July 24, 1:00 PM

Yorktown Heights



Sat, July 28, 6:30 PM

Weil Preserve, North Salem

Jazz in the Meadow with Bill Evans

Arts & Entertainment Other


Tue, July 31, 1:00 PM

Yorktown Heights