The midfielder scored on a remarkable run four minutes after Queens rival Molloy tied the match at one to continue the Knights improbable run through the playoffs, defeating the Stanners, 2-1 Wednesday night at the United States Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point.
After a one-year hiatus, Holy Cross (10-7-3) returns to the city championship game to face Regis Saturday night at 7 p.m. at Kings Point.
"They're a tough group, they played a good match, but today seemed to be our time to celebrate," Holy Cross first-year coach Dom Cinelli said of Molloy, which had won both regular season meetings. "We haven't had much to celebrate this season, but tonight was good. We still have 80 minutes left to go."
DiFulvio, who had a world class cross on the Knights first goal of the game, started the play when he received a through ball from David Cinelli.
DiFulvio first cut inside of a sliding Molloy defender at the touchline and then broke for goal, ending a 20-yard sprint with a brilliant goal inside the far post from the top of the 18-yard box.
"He slid at me, it was a long slide and I had time to go around him," said DiFulvio, who has scored in each of Holy Cross' three playoff wins. "As soon as I had the through ball, I just had my head on putting the ball in the net. We needed it really bad."
The go-ahead goal came just three minutes after Molloy (12-4-3) tied the game at 1 when Rob Sardis found space through the midfield and after drawing three defenders to him, slotted the ball to Peter Despotopoulos. The junior midfielder received the ball down the right flank and tapped the ball past Holy Cross keeper Daniel Cinelli, who came off his line a bit early.
With the exception of that one mistake the Holy Cross defense was stellar, not allowing playmaker Gabe Ortega room to operate and cutting down on Sardis' looks at the net.
"We knew they were their top players so we just basically put a man on and made sure we played strong and made sure they didn't do anything," said Holy Cross junior defender Jeovani Parades.
DiFulvio's extra effort near the goal line, where he faked a Stanners defender and managed to send a brilliant cross to Ariel Castellanos, who chipped the ball first time past Molloy keeper Mike Testa to give Holy Cross a 1-0 lead with 2:53 left in the first half.
"I happened to be there to score the goal and set the pace for the game," Castellanos said. "From there everybody got their game together, everybody was energetic as the game went on. I just happened to be at the right place at the right time."
Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by email at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 143.
©2002 Community News Group
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