By Lori Brown
LIBERTY Margaret Borowicz’ hat trick led James I. O’Neill to a 4-2 victory over Liberty in Thursday afternoon’s Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) Division IV girls’ soccer game.
Both teams entered the game undefeated in league play. O’Neill is now 7-3, 3-0 while Liberty fell to 6-3, 3-1.
O’Neill took an early 2-0 lead on goals by Borowicz and Deanna Ryan.
Liberty had a chance to even the score at the 15:37 mark of the first half. After O’Neill was called for a handball in the goal box, Cindy Fuentes’ penalty kick sailed just wide of the net.
Down 2-0, The Lady Indians could not convert on three consecutive corner kicks just prior to halftime.
In the second half as a steady rain fell, the offenses took advantage of the wet field conditions and defenders slipping. Just 5:05 into the half, Borowicz scored her second goal with an assist from Ryan to give O’Neill a commanding 3-0 lead.
During the next 10 minutes, Liberty had some good scoring chances with corner kicks, but again couldn’t find the net.
The Lady Indians finally got on the board when Zaira Pabon headed the ball into the goal on an assist by Selena Vargas with 12:08 remaining in the game.
A couple of minutes later, at the 9:56 mark, the Lady Indians struck again to draw within one goal. Vargas passed the ball to Pabon, who kicked it toward the goal. The ball was deflected but not controlled by O’Neill goalie Avianna Velasquez. Liberty’s Rebeccah Harman kicked the loose ball into the goal cage to make the score 3-2. Vargas was credited with an assist on the play.
But Borowicz put the game away with a late insurance goal.
O’Neill had 10 shots on goal and their keeper, Velasquez, had six saves.
“The first 20 minutes we played good defense, but we were a little disorganized,” O’Neill Coach Linda Wetzel said. “The ball conditions were tough, but we stuck together. In the second half we had just a few mistakes in the back line. Our offense came through again.”
Liberty goalkeeper Justice Muniz-Dingevan had 13 saves in Thursday’s match.
“We only need one more win to qualify for sectionals,” Liberty Coach Anne Ramos said.
She and Volunteer Assistant Coach Carpio Ramos are hoping for that win this week. with games against Burke, Monticello and Sullivan West.
“We had a lot of talent on the field today and were on the attack for most of the game,” Ramos said. “We moved some positions around in the second half. In the first half we had more chances, but we were just unlucky with scoring.”