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MacArthur tops Mepham for county title

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Playing for the Nassau Class A girls’ soccer championship for a second consecutive season as the No. 8 seed, MacArthur seized the moment Tuesday night after a runner-up finish in 2018.

Sophomore Hailey Hnis and eighth-grader Hailey Metzger scored 1:39 apart early in the second half and senior Amanda Cannella added an insurance goal as MacArthur defeated third-seeded Mepham, 3-0, at Cold Spring Harbor High School for its first county title since 2011. Senior goalkeeper Shannon Kilian made five saves in the shutout.

“It feels amazing,” said Hnis, whose twin sister Madison scored the game-winning goal in the closing seconds of the Lady Generals’ 3-2 semifinal win over No. 4 South Side last Saturday. “We’ve got a great group of girls,” she added. “We’re like a second family to each other.”

MacArthur (14-1-2) advanced to face Shoreham-Wading River in the Long Island Class A championship game this Saturday at 11 a.m. at Berner Middle School in Massapequa. Mepham, which eliminated Long Beach, Manhasset and North Shore on the way to the finals, finished 9-6-3.

“We had some unfinished business and it’s a great feeling,” MacArthur coach Jamie San Filippo said. “The chemistry we have is incredible. We watched a ton of film the past few nights. These girls were up really late preparing and it showed.”

Hailey Hnis snapped a scoreless tie less than three minutes into the second half when she took a crossing pass from sophomore Fiona Kilian and blasted a shot just inside the left post for a 1-0 lead. Hnis’ next shot was stopped by Mepham sophomore keeper Hailey Stork, who made a dynamic diving save. However, Metzger popped in the rebound to make it 2-0 with 35:30 to go.

“I know the first goal held up as the game-winner, but getting the second one right away was huge,” San Filippo said.

With 23:58 remaining, Cannella put the game away with a successful penalty kick. MacArthur’s impeccable defensive effort was led by senior twins Tara and Mary-Kate Sweeney, Madison Hnis and freshman Emma Hoesten.

“We played well in the first 20 minutes, but the rest belonged to them,” Mepham coach Janine Bizelia said. “The girls were unbelievable. They fought hard and stuck together all year. Hopefully we can get back here again next season.”

After last season ended with a defeat to eventual state champion Valley Stream South in the county finals, San Filippo said the Lady Generals were on a mission. He had shirts with “Something To Prove” printed on the back.