Story by Jon Dinan
The Livingston Manor Lady Wildcats defeated Eldred 2-0 on Friday afternoon at Middletown's Faller Field to claim the Section IX Class D girls’ soccer championship.
“We are ecstatic.” said Manor head coach Shirlee Davis. “We’ve been working so hard for this and to actually have it come to fruition is a great feeling.”
Davis has now won three sectional championships in the past six seasons with the Wildcats, the previous titles coming in 2007 and 2009.
There was some apprehension from both sides as to how players would perform since both teams practiced only once prior to the game due to Hurricane Sandy.
“While it wasn't the best of conditions with most of the girls not having power, I think Manor was in the same boat.” said Eldred head coach Teresa Colvin.
“Limited practice was definitely a factor,” said Davis. “But we have a lot of senior leadership on this team and our seniors stepped up today.”
Five minutes into the game, it was freshman Annaleise Gorr who put Manor up 1-0 when she found the back of the net after receiving a perfect cross pass in mid-stride from sophomore Jordyne Shaver.
"I've been working on finishing in practice and it paid off when it counted.'' Gorr said.
With two minutes left in the first half, Eldred's Jackie Terry was taken down in the box, and Eldred coach Teresa Colvin chose Melissa McMonagle for the penalty kick. But the freshman midfielder got too much elevation on her kick and it sailed just over the crossbar.
“Melissa usually has a pretty good shot, said Colvin. “She just happened to miss high on that one.”
Only down 1-0 at half, Colvin thought her team was well-positioned for the second half given how they played.
“Overall, I thought we had a pretty good first half,” Colvin said. We reacted well to the early goal and really, I thought, dominated the rest of the first half.
Livingston Manor controlled the action in the second half, not allowing Eldred a single shot attempt in the 40 minutes. With a minute left in the game, Manor’s senior midfielder Samantha Scott provided an insurance goal to seal the victory.
“I thought our communication wasn't the greatest and we had a hard time competing against the physical size of the Manor squad.” Colvin said about her team’s second-half struggles.
“We feel great,” said Manor junior midfielder Farrah Mills. “The weather was definitely a factor. The cold was making player’s muscles tight so staying loose was important.
“I think Eldred improved over the course of the season, but we played better as a team today and the win feels amazing.”
Livingston Manor (13-4) is set to play Suffolk County champion Smithtown Christian at 3 p.m. Nov. 10 at Dowling College in Oakdale, Long Island.
As for Eldred, Colvin said her team a lot to build upon.
“I believe the team achieved our goals this season,” said Colvin. “We knew the game against Manor was going to be tough as both of our regular season games were hard fought battles. We improved greatly throughout season. Overall, I think the girls and I put together a season we can all be proud of.”