Telecom, Madison battle to 1-1 draw
In a rivalry that grows with each passing game, Telecom and James Madison are becoming quite familiar with one another.
The two Brooklyn teams met for the second time this season, this time on Madison’s turf and played to a 1-1 draw in a highly competitive PSAL Brooklyn A-VII division matchup Tuesday afternoon.
Coming off a PSAL Class B championship season that saw Telecom defeat James Madison 5-4 on penalty kicks in the title game, both teams made the jump to the more competitive A division and are experiencing the growing pains of their elevated status.
Fortunately, amongst the adjustment is the continued budding rivalry born in Class B.
“There is a big rivalry between us over the last few years,” said junior midfielder Claudia Huerta. “We wanted it, but you win some, you lose some and you tie some.”
Including last season’s championship, Telecom has owned the series, winning four consecutive games. Madison’s players seemed more than aware of that as they came out with unparalleled aggression.
“The rivalry is kind of weird because there really wasn’t one until recently,” James Madison head coach Richard Tighe said. “We were both the best teams in Class B last year and ended up meeting in the city final. Things have built from there. This year with both us moving to the A division, it led to some great games.”
The Lady Knights controlled possession for almost the entirety of the first half. Freshman Daniella Moran and sophomore Samantha O’Brien were the main aggressors as they regularly tested Telecom junior goalkeeper Yaliz Campos.
Moran had several near misses in the first half, including a chipping a 14th-minute free kick that just sailed over the net.
Campos was outstanding, denying O’Brien and Moran a bevy of goals. She finished with 14 saves on the day.
Despite Madison’s on-ball dominance, Telecom (2-4-2) managed to get on the board first. When junior midfielder Carol Flores crossed in her corner kick, senior goalkeeper Tiffany Cornier initially denied it. But the ball slipped through her grip and in Moran’s attempt to clear the box, Huerta was in position to knock the ball in at the 27th minute.
“It was hard. It was a corner kick and no one really had me covered,” Huerta said. “The goalie had already hit it out and somehow I ended up hitting it with my knee. It went in and I just ran back.”
After a potential O’Brien goal in the 62nd minute was called back because the offside flag was raised, Moran was able to find the back of the net for the Lady Knights in the 68th minute. Off a free kick from the left side of the box, Moran floated a shot that deflected off Campos’ fingers and into the net.
“All I was trying to do was not to overshoot it,” Moran said. “I tend to do that sometimes, but this time, I actually used the power I was supposed to use and it went in.”
“She takes our free kicks because she has a nice curved foot and she can put shots on goal,” Tighe said. “I was sitting there thinking, this is one we need and we need her to put it in the back of the net. She missed a couple earlier, but you have to give a kid like that a chance and she got it done.”
As the daylight quickly began to wane, neither team was able to find the back of the net through the end of regulation or the two subsequent five-minute overtimes.
Tighe pointed out that this is an important season for his young James Madison (3-5-2) team and said that while every win was important in their new division, he’d be happy for his girls to finish at .500.
“If you look at our roster, you’ll see we have a lot of freshmen,” Tighe said. “In the A division, things are much more physical so we’ve had to learn how to play that game and be tighter defensively and better offensively. We’ll be happy to finish .500 this season.”