THIELLS — With the transition to golden goal overtime periods in high school girls soccer starting this season, anything goes — even more so when things are decided by a penalty kick shootout.
North Rockland, however, had seen it all. The Red Raiders had been driven on their heels, triumphed over their foes and thought deeply about near-misses and what-could-have-been.
Those experiences in an up-and-down season filled with challenging opponents prepared them for a playoff meeting with New Rochelle that simply had all the above. The Huguenots gave them an early scare, before they found their footing and eventually advanced on a 3-2 penalty kick shootout that had plenty of emotional swings.
“It just sums up our season,” North Rockland coach Pete McGovern said. “It’s been wild at times, but give the kids a ton of credit. Especially our goalie, Kelly Roff, who stood her ground and stepped up big for us today. She made a great save in the first half, it was spectacular, and then when it came to PKs, she carried us through that.”
North Rockland’s Gianna Piscopiello, far right, celebrates her goal during a Section 1 Class AA quarterfinal with New Rochelle at North Rockland Oct. 24, 2022. North Rockland advances on penalty kicks 3-2, after the teams tied 1-1.
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New Rochelle started strong and took a 1-0 lead at the half. North Rockland started stringing together quality possessions and came up with the equalizer shortly after the break.
The Red Raiders started to be more assertive on the attacking end, after the Huguenots initially pushed them on their heels. New Rochelle goalkeeper Emily Gonzalez was admirable in goal, helping her team withstand an offensive barrage.
“Emily was a team manager, essentially, last year and really just helped the goalies,” New Rochelle coach Francesco Notaristefano said. “In the offseason, I asked her what she wanted to do, and she was willing to step up. It’s storybook, what she’s done, really.”
North Rockland missed a point-blank opportunity to win the game with 10 seconds left in the second-overtime period, but made up for it in the shootout.
Allie Dwyer hit the decisive goal in the sixth round to put the Red Raiders in front.
“Somebody on the team needed to take it, and I stepped up because the team needed me,” Dwyer said. “I was really nervous about missing, but I took a deep breath and went through the ball. … This is very important to me. I’ve been on this team for four years now, and it’s really important that we make it to the final because we’re such a good team and I know we can make it there as long as we play hard.”
North Rockland’s Alison Dwyer, right, fights for the ball with New Rochelle’s Alexandra Rivera during their Section 1 Class AA quarterfinalat at North Rockland Oct. 24, 2022. North Rockland advances on penalty kicks 3-2, after the teams tied 1-1.
Roff, the Red Raiders’ goalkeeper, had made a stop during the shootout to help keep things even. She was ready to react to the last New Rochelle kick, but the Huguenots’ fate was sealed when the shot bounced off the crossbar.
“In JV, we actually went to a PK shootout freshman year, but it’s so much more worrisome in varsity because everyone can shoot better and is more tricky,” Roff said. “It’s terrifying, but you just hope to God you get it right.”
Surely enough, the Red Raiders did.
What it means
The Red Raiders advance to the Section 1 Class AA semifinals, where they will face the either No. 1 seed Arlington or No. 8 seed Clarkstown South.
Players of the game
Emily Gonzalez, New Rochelle, and Kelly Roff, North Rockland — Have to tip your hat to both goalkeepers. Even though New Rochelle fell short, Gonzalez was impeccable in goal and made crucial stops, racking up 13 saves, especially as the Huguenots mounted up the attacking pressure in the second half and through overtime. Gonzalez also blocked a couple of penalty kicks during the shootout.
As for Roff, she made six stops, including a couple of close opportunities as the Red Raiders were settling in early. She also blocked a shot during the shootout.
North Rockland goalie Kelly Roff makes a save during a Section 1 Class AA quarterfinal with New Rochelle at North Rockland Oct. 24, 2022. North Rockland advances on penalty kicks 3-2, after the teams tied 1-1.
By the numbers
No. 4 North Rockland (9-7-1) — Gianna Piscopiello scored the equalizing goal early in the second half off an assist by Gillian Alessi. Allie Dwyer had the decisive penalty kick goal during the shootout, but teammates Caroline Tomas and Gillian Alessi also converted.
No. 5 New Rochelle (9-5-2) — Jordan Weiner scored the Huguenots’ goal off of a corner kick assist by Amalia Cardo. Although the Huguenots did not win the penalty kick shootout to advance, the official result is counted as a draw for both teams’ records.
North Rockland’s Megan McGovern, right, fights for the ball with New Rochelle’s Alexandra Rivera during their Section 1 Class AA quarterfinalat at North Rockland Oct. 24, 2022. North Rockland advances on penalty kicks 3-2, after the teams tied 1-1.
They said it
“The girls gave it everything they could, it’s unfortunate after 110 minutes of play that it leads to this,” Notaristefano said. “All these years later, we couldn’t figure out a better way to do it, but my girls left it all out on the field. Can’t fault them. Our goalie made key saves in PKs, and you can’t ask for much more. I told them to keep their heads up high, but it’s hard because no matter what you say the tears are endless. For a lot of these seniors, it’s over.”
“This helps us a lot because we struggled with coming back from a deficit,” Roff said. “Them having that 1-0 lead going into halftime, all of us being worried, to scoring in the first 10 minutes or so — and then seeing we can score and win in PKs, it’s really reassuring for all of us.”
Follow Eugene Rapay on Twitter at @erapay5 and on Instagram at @byeugenerapay.
This article originally appeared on Rockland/Westchester Journal News: Section 1 girls soccer: North Rockland outlasts New Rochelle