By Rob Potter
MIDDLETOWN November 9, 2004 Despite the efforts of both teams, the first 40 minutes of Friday afternoons Section IX Class C girls soccer championship game between Tri-Valley and Tuxedo was scoreless.
But the second half of the game, which was played at Middletown High School, featured three goals.
Unfortunately for the Lady Bears and their fans in attendance, all three goals were scored by Tuxedo.
The Lady Tornadoes, who were the top seed in the Class C tournament, recorded a 3-0 victory over T-V, which was the seeded second in the tourney. The Lady Bears ended their season with a record of 12-7.
The title is the sixth consecutive Section IX Class C championship for Tuxedo, which now moves on to face Section I champion Rye Neck in the opening round of the state tournament.
Tuxedo (12-5) didnt wait too long after the halftime break to get on the scoreboard.
Just 2:07 into the second half, Lady Tornado defender Kelly McCullough scored the first goal of the match. She sent a high shot, which floated just under the crossbar and just over T-V goalkeeper Kaylie Ackerley, into the back of the net.
Tuxedo added to its advantage six minutes later. From about 10 yards away, Lady Tornado midfielder Aileen Luksic sent a low shot into the near corner of the T-V goal cage.
Katie LaForte ended the scoring when she kicked the ball into the near corner of the net at the 37-minute mark.
Ackerley made nine saves, while Tuxedo goalie Kristen LaForte had eight saves.
Tuxedo outshot T-V by a 15-4 margin in the contest.
They simply beat us to the ball today, T-V Coach Mary Feusner said. I dont think it had to do so much with [team] speed. They were very determined and just beat us to the ball.
Feusner noted that her team had a couple of opportunities to score but could not convert on them.
One of those chances occurred with about seven minutes left in the match. T-Vs Nikki Dean sent a high, floating shot towards the Lady Tornado goal cage. Just as Deans teammate Lacey Moore was running in from the other side for a possible shot on a rebound, Kristen LaForte caught the ball in midair. She then held onto it for a couple of seconds before sending it back upfield.
Tuxedo Coach Billy Smith said that he did not make any major changes during halftime.
I just asked them to please go out and play hard in the first 10 minutes of the second half and try to make something happen and they did, he said.
Smith noted that facing Rye Neck will be a tough assignment for his squad.
But if we go out and play the way we did today, we should be OK, he commented.
Feusner noted that the Lady Bears had a very good season.
We had eight shutouts [overall] and seven consecutive victories coming into to this game, she said.
Still, losing to Tuxedo which defeated the Lady Bears by scores of 2-0 and 2-1 (in overtime) in two regular season matches was tough for Feusner and her players.
Its very disappointing for the six seniors on the team, Feusner said. They have all been playing on the varsity level for two or three years, and, in one case, for four years.
Melissa Bachmann is the senior who spent her entire high school career on the Lady Bears varsity team. The five other seniors who played their last scholastic soccer game on Friday are Alice Cook, Dean, Moore, Cecelia Pompeii and Jamie Poulos.