What happens when 80 minutes of soccer isn’t enough to decide a winner? In the Nassau County girls’ playoffs, it means a minimum of 20 additional minutes regardless of how many goals are scored.
Under dark gray skies and windy and rainy conditions on Oct. 24, No. 6 Lynbrook and No. 11 Valley Stream North battled through a scoreless regulation before the Class A first-round playoff game became wildly entertaining in overtime.
The teams combined for four overtime goals, including three in a 90-second span in the second mandatory 10-minute OT period, with senior Gina Giovinco opening and closing the scoring in Lynbrook’s 3-1 home victory. Senior Jade Fixon-Owoo notched the game-winner on a blast from 25 yards out with 3:43 remaining, 40 seconds after North tied it.
“Both teams really wanted it and I’m super proud of how our girls battled,” Lady Owls coach Lisa Goodman said. “We had a tough season against elite teams in Conference I, but I kept telling them to push through, have a winning mentality and never give up.”
North, which needed to win its regular-season finale to qualify for the playoffs, showed great resiliency after Lynbrook senior goalkeeper Brianna Quadrozzi stopped a penalty kick with 3:10 left in regulation and again after Giovinco made it 1-0 six minutes into overtime.
“I give our girls a tremendous amount of credit,” Lady Spartans coach Geoff O’Connell said. “Our backs were against the wall in overtime and it was great to get that tying goal. But they’re a good team and came right back.”
On the equalizer, Quadrozzi made a diving save but couldn’t control the rebound and North freshman Kayla Schimmenti, who had three regular-season tallies, stunned Lynbrook with the tying goal with 4:23 to play in the second OT.
It didn’t stay deadlocked for long, however. Fixon-Owoo, who scored in the regular-season finale, sent a hard shot with a little boost from the wind past a diving Gianna Moneta (eight saves) in the North cage for a 2-1 lead. “I knew we had to find a way,” Fixon-Owoo said. “It was a team effort.”
With the Lady Spartans pressing for another tying goal, Giovinco got behind their defense and scored on a breakaway with 3:16 left to give Lynbrook the insurance Quadrozzi said it needed. “I was a little nervous after they tied it,” she said. “I didn’t relax until it was 3-1.”
Scoring chances were few a far between throughout regulation as both defenses stood tall. Cassie Saracino, Amirah Campbell, Guiseppina Cirelli and Katie Hawkins led the effort for North, while Sophia LoCicero, Allison Kuntsler, Katie Bamman and Leanna Sullivan did the same for the Lady Owls. Lynbrook junior Jessica Woll hit the crossbar four minutes into the game and neither team came close to getting on the scoreboard until Quadrozzi came up big on the PK.
“As far as I’m concerned, Brianna’s save was the game right there,” Goodman said. “She held her ground and stay composed.”