Bryant satisfied with close 2-1 defeat to Cardozo

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Everyone who left Bryant Athletic Field Friday afternoon left with a smile. On one side was the Cardozo girls’ soccer team, happy because their 2-1 road win clinched a third straight Queens ‘A’ crown and on the other, the home team, pleased because they did something they promised to each other the day before: They didn’t quit.

They didn’t quit. Not against a Cardozo team clearly more skilled. They didn’t quit. Not even when, after an even first half, the undefeated Judges jumped ahead on a fluke own-goal five minutes into the second half. They didn’t quit.

That wasn’t the case the last time the two teams played. Following another bad goal, Bryant players got down on themselves and before they knew it, Cardozo struck again in a 2-0 win April 15.

Melissa Lam, for one, wanted to make sure that didn’t happen again. During a team meeting last Thursday, the senior defender told her team that no matter what, they had to play hard for the full 80 minutes.

“I’m very proud of our effort. We played excellent and gave them a run for their money,” Lam said. “That mishap was a mistake, but without that mishap we could have won or tied. We’re just as good as they are.”

Less than two minutes after Cardozo took a 1-0 lead, Bryant (13-3-1, 10-3-1 Queens A) netted the equalizer. As the ball pinballed inside in the Cardozo 18-yard box, freshman striker Cristina Alfonso-Zea saw an opening and pounced. She slid and slotted the ball high inside the far post from five yards out to tie the game at 1.

“It was so interesting. It ricocheted off so many people and then I saw the light,” said Alfonso-Zea, who missed the first game against Cardozo.“I slid and hit the ball as hard as I can.”

But the Bryant crowd hardly had time to soak in the tying goal before the Owls made yet another defensive miscue. And Cardozo’s talented junior midfielder Patricia Sotirakis made them pay.

After her shot from five yards out rang off the crossbar and was cleared over the endline for a corner kick, Sotirakis noticed teammate Nikki Tzimas standing along at the near post. Her low corner kick struck Tzimas in the knee and the ball bounced in the goal to give Cardozo (12-0 Queens A) a 2-1 lead in the 50th minute.

Tzimas, who is used to high corner kicks by Sotirakis, was so shocked she was alone and that the ball came at her low, that she had a delayed reaction to the goal.

“I was up at the post and there was nobody else there, I just put it in off my knee,” Tzimas said. “We conformed to their small field. They’re used to it, but its 10 yards too short. It took the whole first half for us to get used to it.”

After an evenly played first half, Cardozo coach Rich Parascos challenged his team at halftime. His team answered by playing much better in the second half, especially in the air, where they won the majority of 50-50 balls.

“They responded and really took over and controlled the tempo,” Parascos said. “We dominated the second half. The score does not indicate how much we dominated the second half.”

Despite the loss, Bryant coach Ralph Montanaro also left the field happy.

“We did them a favor and they did us a favor,” he said. “Both teams benefited from the physical play. We should both be in good shape heading into the playoffs.”

Townsend Harris 3, Bayside 0. Jaclyn Miccio made a triumphant return from an ankle injury, scoring two goals and assisting on another to lead Townsend Harris (10-3-1 Queens A).

Newtown 3, Jamaica 2. Alba Carrasquero had two goals and an assist and Jessica Velez also scored for Newtown (5-7-2 Queens A). Kimone McLaughlin scored for Jamaica (0-14 Queens A).

John Adams 7, Hillcrest 0. Marja-Lisa Yee scored three goals and Leydi Escobar and Maura Torres each netted a pair for Adams (8-1, 8-0 Queens B).

Beach Channel 2, Van Buren 1. Marilyn Bran scored for Van Buren (1-6-2 Queens B) while Wioleta Kolano netted both Beach Channel (1-7-1 Queens B) goals.

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

Posted 7:03 pm, October 10, 2011
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