October 29, 2013 | 548 views
Long Beach snaps playoff drought
Makes first postseason appearance in 19 years, beats Mepham in OT
Four days after breaking a nearly two-decade playoff drought by winning its Conference AA-II finale to qualify for the Nassau County Class AA girls’ soccer postseason tournament, Long Beach wasn’t about to settle for a participation trophy.
Trailing sixth-seeded Mepham by two goals midway through the second half of last Friday’s first-round playoff matchup, the Lady Marines rallied to force overtime and pulled out a stunning 5-3 road victory. Valeria Catrambore scored both the equalizer — with seven minutes remaining in regulation — and the game-winner, and Jessica Shreck added two goals in the program’s first postseason appearance since 1994.
“It’s unbelievable,” Long Beach coach Tara Wesselhoft said. “The last week has been a roller-coaster ride but the girls never stopped working and believed in one another. Our playoff chances weren’t looking so hot, but a door opened and we made it in.
“Mepham got up 3-1 on us, but once we tied it I felt like it was our game to win,” she added. “We had all the momentum going into overtime.”
Shannon Horgan, who assisted on the tying goal and Shreck’s insurance tally with two minutes remaining in the second mandatory 10-minute OT, got the Lady Marines (7-5-2) within 3-2 with her Nassau-leading 23rd goal of the year midway through the second half. Catrambore collected the rebound of a Horgan shot and beat Mepham goalkeeper Nadine Simpson (seven saves) to tie it.
Senior goalkeeper Shauna Spruiell made 12 saves for Long Beach, which advanced to face No. 3 MacArthur in the quarterfinals. “Shauna played a great game,” Wesselhoft said. “She’s a natural on the basketball court and I recruited her to play goalie because she’s such a good athlete.
“I don’t know if it was the intensity of being in the playoffs or what, but she was more aggressive than she’s been all year,” she added.