Santoro guides Islip to Suffolk 'A' crown
Morgan Santoro’s black cleat has been the glass slipper in the Islip girls soccer team’s Cinderella run.
After scoring the lone goal in a 1-0 shocker over Sayville in the semifinals, Santoro’s “glass cleat” helped Islip pull out another improbable win yesterday.
The Islip season seemed all but over when Bayport-Blue Point’s Kaitlyn Leahy scored the go-ahead goal with just 4:32 remaining. But for Islip, the game had just begun.
What seemed like a last-ditch shot attempt by Shannon McKenna from outside the box with about 20 seconds remaining was deflected out of bounds behind the net. Trailing by a goal with the final seconds of regulation running down, Santoro scrambled to get set for a corner kick and sent in a perfect ball that was headed in by Lauren Sparks with just 2.5 seconds remaining.
In the second sudden death overtime, Santoro sent in a free kick from 40 yards out that deflected off the keeper and was knocked in by Dominique Capolongo with 2:44 left to give No. 5 Islip a thrilling 3-2 upset win over No. 2 Bayport-Blue Point to win the Class A county championship at Dowling Sports Complex.
“Morgan just hit in across the box, it kind of deflected and wasn’t going in so it just rolled and I tapped it right in,” Capolongo said. “I just looked at the ball in the net and felt the biggest rush ever.”
Bayport-Blue Point (13-5) took a 2-1 lead when Nicole Copping tapped in a rebound with 4:32 remaining. A goal that would bring them within 2.5 seconds of a county title until Santoro and Sparks connected on the corner kick.
“I just sprinted and kicked it,” Santoro said. “I really wasn’t thinking of kicking it good, I was just kicking it. I was just hoping just to get it in and hoping that someone would get it in and that’s what happened. I was so excited.”
Added Islip coach Mike Reilly: “Morgan Santoro is the most composed player on the field. When I saw 13 seconds left there, I’m telling her to just whip it in. She actually took the time, knew there was enough time to get that ball in and she did it. The most composed play of the game, without question.”
Santoro had a foot in all three goals for Islip. She took a feed from Rachel Cipriano, beat a defender down the middle of the box and fired past the keeper to tie the game at 1 just 2:40 into the second half.
Leahy put Bayport ahead with 1:32 remaining in the first half. Kerrigan Miller maintained possession along the goal line and sent a looping cross to the front of the net where Leahy knocked it in for a 1-0 lead.
But keeper Tara Mackey, who had eight saves, came up big for Islip, which ousted the top two teams in Class A en route to county supremacy.
“We pushed through until the end,” Capolongo said. “We worked too hard this whole season for it to end that way. We had to go all out.”
Islip (7-8-1) went all out and now they move on to play South Side for the Long Island Championship at 5 p.m. on Saturday at Denton Park.
“I told the girls, ‘You bring your heart, you bring your soul, you bring your skill to the field, you’ll come out on top,’’ Reilly said. “We did that for two games in a row. Their hearts could not be denied today. This is without question the best win, the best heartfelt win, I’ve ever seen.”