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Newcomers falls in soccer semis

With a berth in the PSAL ‘B’ championship game at stake, there was no one Newcomers girls’ soccer coach Beth Schuellein wanted to take the final penalty kick more than Jenny Garcia.

The Lions’ leading scorer stepped to the spot to take one deciding penalty kick. A miss and Lab Museum United would advance to Sunday’s inaugural ‘B’ title match. A goal and Newcomers’ season would extend for at least one more sudden death penalty kick.

But as was the case two other times in the penalty kick shootout, Garcia was denied as Stephanie Monfort saved the shot to clinch Lab Museum’s 2-1 semifinal win Sunday at Campus Magnet.

The Gators, in only their second year of varsity play, advance to the city title match Sunday at St. John’s Belson Stadium at 5 p.m. to take on undefeated Tilden, 6-0 winners over Julia Richman in the other semifinal.

“I wanted the corners,” said Garcia, who put Newcomers in front 1-0 in the 13th minute when her seemingly harmless shot from 30 yards out skipped past Lab Museum keeper Abigail Hardin and into the net. “Either the left or right.”

She got neither as Monfort, who replaced starting keeper Hardin after the first round of five penalty kicks was tied at 2, caught the ball in the middle of the net.

“Our goalie hasn’t had that many experiences with penalty kicks. She did well but she said she wanted me to switch with her,” Monfort said. “I was so nervous, because I was like, ‘If they make this, I’m up again to score,’ and I didn’t know if I could score again. It’s a lot of pressure.”

After two 10-minute golden goal overtimes and two rounds of penalty kicks couldn’t break the deadlock, the game went to a sudden death round of penalty kicks, and first up for Lab Museum (17-1), which defeated Jamaica 4-0 in the quarterfinals, was freshman Elizabeth Kenworthy.

The Gators’ leading scorer had struggled all game, missing a bevy of great scoring chances including a breakaway in the final seconds of the second overtime and two missed penalty kicks.

But Kenworthy calmly slotted the ball past Newcomers keeper Nathaly Ferre to her left to put the pressure on Garcia.

“I was really nervous and I think the reason why I missed the first two was because I was so nervous,” she said. “As soon as I started to concentrate it really made it much easier to shoot and score. I looked at the ball instead of the goalie and I didn’t just kick it.”

Newcomers (16-3) had a few great chances to score the go-ahead goal in the second half, but Garcia’s shot from 30 yards out skipped off Hardin’s hands and off the goal post in the 55th minute and Victoria Pizzorno’s header off Garcia’s corner kick in the 71st minute caromed off the crossbar.

“This year we not only made the playoffs but came to the semifinals and lost in sudden death penalty kicks. That’s fantastic,” Schuellein said. “The girls wanted it more than I can even explain, so they’re disappointed.”

Julia Richman 1, Forest Hills 0. Micaell Baum Tuccill scored the game winner for Julia Richman in the first half of a PSAL ‘B’ quarterfinal game.

Newcomers 4, Environmental Studies 0. Armela Dosti, Jinshu Wang, Rebecca Aupont and Garcia scored for Newcomers in a PSAL ‘B’ quarterfinal game.

Midwood 3, Cardozo 1. Vivian James scored the lone goal for Cardozo in a PSAL ‘A’ quarterfinal game.

Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 143.

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