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St. Francis girls happy despite loss to Trinity

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The final score wasn’t in their favor, but there were no long faces on the St. Francis Prep sideline Monday in Hicksville, L.I.. The girls soccer team looked past its 20 minutes of sluggish play and the 1-0 result on the scoreboard in favor of host Holy Trinity and instead focused on the Terriers 60 minutes of dominance in the regular season finale.

“We dominated and we played technically very well,” said St. Francis Prep head coach John Jenkins. “We hit the open player, we became the aggressor and won all the free balls. Unfortunately, we came out 1-0 losers, but they did everything I asked of them. This was a great tune-up for the playoffs.”

For St. Francis Prep (7-4-2 Nassau-Suffolk Catholic High School Athletic Association), the game was little more than a warm-up for the playoffs, which started Wednesday with the quarterfinal round. Coming into the game, the Terriers had already wrapped up third place in the division, behind St. Anthony’s and Sacred Heart, and knew they were set to face Sacred Heart in the semifinals Saturday or Sunday.

“We dominated the whole game. The way we’re playing right now is excellent,” said St. Francis Prep senior midfielder Filippa Petruccelli. “Everything is pretty much clicking with the team. We couldn’t get the win, but its OK, we’ll get them in the playoffs.”

Petruccelli, along with fellow center midfielders Tina Rodriguez and Katie Purcell, was the biggest concern for Holy Trinity coach Dahir Mohammed. Petruccelli, arguably the most dominant player in the league, was hampered with a lower back injury that kept her from playing at 100 percent.

“We tried to keep the ball away from their center midfielders and we were fortunate enough to keep [Petruccelli] at bay, although it may have been because of her injury,” said Mohammed, a former defender on the Long Island Rough Riders and NY/NJ MetroStars. “This was the final home game for our seniors and they definitely played with a lot of heart and intensity.”

Holy Trinity (6-5-1) took advantage of the Terriers lethargic start and scored the game’s lone goal three minutes into the first half, as Caitlin McGinn ran onto a loose ball at the top of the box after a corner kick and slipped the ball past Prep keeper Christina Aquillon from 18 yards out. Alaina LaRocca and Natalia Guitian assisted on the tally as the Titans took a 1-0 lead.

“We try and tell [McGinn] to get to the far post as fast as she can and she did a good job of that,” Mohammed said. “She’s starting to understand her roll on the team, that we need to use her speed.”

“They got us when we were flat, but that’s all right,” Petruccelli said. “I’d rather that happen than for us not to work hard all game.”

After the opening 20 minutes, the rest of the game belonged to St. Francis Prep. The Terriers brilliantly controlled possession, passing the ball deftly. But when it came to the attacking third, that’s where St. Francis Prep couldn’t finish.

Instead of getting off shots from 10 to 15 yards out, most of the Terriers shots were low, bouncing balls from 30 yards out that were not dangerous. And when St. Francis Prep did get off a cross deep in the Trinity box, there was no one there to put the ball in the net.

“We had a lot of lofty shots that were very easy for their goalie to handle,” Jenkins said. “They didn’t let us get deep enough to get a quality shot off and I commend them for that.”

St. Francis Prep 2, Our Lady of Mercy 1. Susan O’Connell put the Terriers on the board 15 minutes in and Petruccelli netted the game-winner for St. Francis Prep Thursday. Kristen Oldenburg tied the game at 1 for Our Lady of Mercy (5-7-1) with 10 minutes left in the first half.

Mary Louis 8, St. John’s Prep 0. Teresa Ciccaroni recorded her fifth shutout of the season for the Hilltoppers (8-0 CHSAA) as eight different players scored.

Stella Maris 5, Christ the King 2. Camila Tepper netted her first career hat trick and Chris Bender and Kerri Harnisher also scored for Stella Maris (4-4 CHSAA).

Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 143.

Posted 7:25 pm, October 10, 2011
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