PUTNAM VALLEY, N.Y. — Lakeland and Kennedy Catholic played an entertaining contest in the semifinals of the girls summer soccer league playoffs at Putnam Valley High School on July 13.
It was a game that was full of momentum swings but in the end the Gaels prevailed, winning in penalty kicks 5-3 after the score was knotted 2-2 at the end of regulation.
Kennedy Catholic came up with the game’s first goal on a corner kick in the opening half and looked like it was going to take a 2-0 lead on a breakaway. Kaitlyn Heinrich, who played goal for the Hornets in the first half, came out of the net to come up with a huge save on that breakaway to keep Lakeland within one.
“Kaitlyn keeps her confidence up, which helps the team,” Lakeland co-captain Alexa Caputi said. “No matter if she gets scored on or not, she plays every game like its 0-0. She always has a positive attitude which picks up the whole team.”
By picking up the team with that save, it helped the Hornets tie the game with just literally seconds remaining before halftime on a goal by rising junior forward Jennifer Sabatino, which was assisted by Caputi.
Sabatino did a beautiful job on the play as she perfectly lofted the ball in the right corner of the goal to tie the game.
“[Alexa] is a great captain for us, I am so happy to have her as a captain,” Sabatino said. “For her to send me that through ball just was like a great opportunity to score, like just one touch it in and get that goal for our team.”
Caputi, a rising senior center-back, thought Sabatino’s goal was a big confidence booster for the Hornets.
“It felt really good because it brought up everyone’s confidence,” Caputi said. “It was just a big help. It was really just good give and go’s. It brought everyone up as a team.”
The Gaels answered early in the second half when they scored a goal from close in to go up 2-1. They looked like they were going to double their lead but a strong Kennedy Catholic shot went over the goal.
Lakeland made the Gaels pay for missing that opportunity as the Hornets’ Katherine Maurno streaked ahead of the field and tied the game by finishing a breakaway, which was assisted by co-captain Ashley DiPaolo.
That sent the game into penalty kicks, which saw Caputi make hers to tie the penalty kick phase at 1-1.
“I just kept my head up,” Caputi said. “I didn’t really think about it. I just wanted to keep everyone in the game and keep up their confidence.”
Kennedy garnered the win when it outscored Lakeland 4-2 for the remainder of the penalty kicks but it couldn’t dampen the solid effort the Hornets had, which saw them display plenty of teamwork and communication with each other.
“We all decided we really wanted to win this game,” Sabatino said. “Even though we lost we played great as a team and talked to each other to try to make this win happen for us.”
Katelyn Bloss and DiPaulo also scored in penalty kicks for the Hornets with Stephanie Shaloub and Caley Doell playing well in goal in the second half for Lakeland (2-3-1), which beat Kennedy Catholic 3-1 two days earlier in the regular-season finale.