Deirdre Ray went from sitting and watching to nearly winning her team a title.
“It’s superhuman considering the injury she had,” TMLA Coach Tom Bruen said.
The Mary Louis senior star midfielder spent 16 minutes of the second half nursing a severely sprained ankle in an eventual 2-1 overtime loss to Christ the King in the CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens soccer final Friday night at Aviator Sports Complex.
Eventually the ice pack was removed and she limped back onto the field with 12 minutes left to play in regulation after colliding hard with CK defender Destiny Marino.
“Oh, my God, it hurt so badly,” Ray said. “She came out of nowhere and just rammed in.”
Unfortunately for the Hilltoppers, she couldn’t rocket the ball into the net in the closing minutes of the second extra session after CK (11-1-2) had tied the game late and gone ahead in the first five-minute overtime.
Seeing her career on the line, Ray, who as a sophomore was dubbed the face of Mary Louis soccer by then-Coach Nicole Madtes, battled the pain, dribbled around and through Christ the King defenders and put a barrage on net.
“I give her credit,” Royals Coach John Fayad said. “We knew she was going to dribble and she was still dribbling.”
Ray dinged a shot from 20 yards out off the left post with 3:50 left to play in the second overtime. She watched Christ the King keeper Kristen Drogsler make a punch save over the crossbar on a 25-yard blast and had a final chance in the closing seconds gobbled up.
“I thought that was in,” Ray said of the shot knocked away. “I really did.”
She was trying to make up for her team’s momentary lapse after Therese Boyle gave it a 1-0 lead with less than 10 minutes to play in regulation. The Hilltoppers (8-3-2) were so excited that they lost track of Fabiana Rebecca, who scored the tying goal about a minute later.
“She kind of just blended in over there,” Ray said.
She, however, did not in the closing minutes try everything she could to will her team back.
“She left everything out on the field,” Bruen said. “If those balls had gone in, she wouldn’t have just tied it. She would have won the game.”
©2011 Community News Group
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