Two years ago in the Nassau Class A girls' soccer semifinals, South Side’s Nora Basile converted a penalty kick to help knock off Garden City and the Cyclones went on to win county and Long Island titles.
Basile found herself in an even bigger pressure situation Nov. 1 against the same Garden City goalkeeper when she stepped to the penalty kick line in overtime of the Class AA final after teammate Charlotte Rathjen was taken down in the box.
“When I scored against her [Marisa Patrissi] in the semifinals two years ago, I went bottom right where I usually like to shoot,” Basile said. “I saw one of their players pointing to the right side, so I thought I should go left this time.”
Basile did just that and beat Patrissi 1:25 into OT to give No. 2 South Side a 1-0 victory over the top-seeded Trojans at Cold Spring Harbor High School. It was the 30th county title in program history and 10th for the team under coach Judi Croutier.
“We practice penalty kicks year-round and Nora is our go-to,” Croutier said. “She stepped up and buried it. We have 16 seniors and it’s great to see them go out as county champs.”
Basile, who will play at St. John’s University, said she “zoned out” and did her best to stay calm and composed. “Ever since I’ve been playing soccer I remember being told a penalty kick is just a pass into open space,” she said. “I wasn’t thinking about what was at stake.”
Some anxious moments — about 12 minutes — followed the celebration, however, as Garden City (10-5-4) filed a protest on the foul and whether it was committed inside the box where a penalty kick is the reward. The Section VIII girls’ soccer protest committee conducted an on-field discussion before ruling the official’s call would stand.
“It was a little nerve-racking but it all worked out,” Basile said. “We huddled and talked about staying focused and being ready to come back with the same intensity in case the goal didn’t count. We had so much momentum.”
South Side had lost and tied two regular-season matches against the Trojans. Senior goalkeeper Avery Testa, working behind a defense led by Charley Doreste, Morgan Harloff, Vivianna Haley, Sienna Connolly and Caitlin Haggerty, made 4 saves in posting her second straight playoff shutout.
It was the third county title in four seasons for the Cyclones (10-4-5), who fell to Smithtown West, 1-0, in the L.I. Class AA championship game Saturday at Shoreham-Wading River High School.
Madison DeMaio’s goal from 25 yards out, assisted by Madeline Sacco, made the difference with 28 minutes remaining for the Bulls, who advanced upstate to play the winner of Columbia/West Genesee at Tompkins Cortland Community College.
“It took a nice goal to beat us,” Croutier said. “We played well.”
The Cyclones had six corner kicks in the game, including two in the final minute.
Basile, on the long list of seniors that includes Doreste, Harloff, Haggerty, Testa, leading scorer Hannah Porter, Kat Ahern, Reese Haley, Anne Madden, Laney Fox, Abbey Brull, Lucy Reardon, Sydney McManus, Cate Ford and Erica Meindl, was among a handful who were key parts of three county championship teams.