Superstorm Sandy submerged No. 2 Babylon's field, forcing the Panthers (12-3-1) to sacrifice their first home playoff game in 11 years and travel to Mattituck for their Class B semifinal, where they braved icy rain Thursday and triumphed 3-1.
Shelby Fredericks, Kaileen Hart and Carolanne Murphy scored for Babylon. The Panthers showed the balance that has served them well with Fredericks being the focal point of every opposing defense, said Babylon coach Tim Harrison.
Harrison was quick to tout his team's stellar defensive effort, highlighting freshman sweeper Megan Nerney's positioning and gathering on the slick grass field. Shannon Hartigan and Rachel Gregory also excelled in breaking up plays and turning away counter attacks.
Beyond the win, Harrison was proud of the grit and toughness his team showed in the wake of superstorm Sandy's devastation, which cost them nine days of practice and the advantage of playing at home. "They responded well to a difficult time and played what amounted to our best full game of soccer this year," Harrison said.
Babylon now faces No. 1 Center Moriches Saturday at Center Moriches at 2 p.m. in the Class B final.