Friends girls advance to NYS 'C' final
CORTLAND, N.Y. - Krystina Iordanou burst upfield on a mission, hoping she could muster the speed to get past her defender. The Friends Academy junior midfielder blazed up the left side and ended up with a breakaway.
"Once I got past the defense I saw that the goalie wasn't coming out so I picked which side I was going to [shoot at]," said Iordanou, who kicked the ball into the right corner of the net for the game-winning goal in the 74th minute as Friends Academy defeated Keshequa, 3-2, in a Class C girls soccer state semifinal Saturday at SUNY-Cortland.
"Thank God it went in because that really was the turning point for us," said Iordanou, who has committed to Vanderbilt. "We needed that one thing to finish it for us."
Said Friends Academy coach Gail Baker: "When [Iordanou] took it on I thought in my mind silently that 'we got this goal.' "
Heather Maierle added a goal and an assist for the Quakers (12-0-1), who advance to their first state championship game where they'll meet Hoosick Falls Sunday at 10 a.m. at Homer High School.
Friends Academy controlled the pace and maintained possession in the offensive end for nearly the entire game against previously undefeated Keshequa (21-1), which had allowed just three goals all season before yesterday's semifinal.
Both of Keshequa's goals came off set plays in the first half when Friends Academy was playing against the wind and looking into a glaring sun.
"I think we dominated the field of play," Baker said. "Their two set plays on us were goals that really should have been saved."
Gabrielle DiAngelo put Keshequa up 1-0 on a 35-yard free kick which soared over the hands of leaping Claudia Ratner (four saves) 5:02 into the game.
Maierle fired a shot from the top right corner of the 18-yard box into the far side of the net in the 15th minute to tie the game at 1. "I saw an opportunity to shoot and knew I had to take the shot," Maierle said. "I did everything I could just to get the shot off."
Alexis Toles scored a header off a cross from Maierle to give the Quakers their first lead, 2-1, in the 33rd minute.
DiAngelo's 20-yard free kick bounced off Ratner's legs to Keshequa's Haley Russell, who scored the equalizer from 8 yards out in the 37th minute.
With the wind and sun at their backs in the second half, the Quakers' defense shutdown the Indians. Toles and Marissa Tidona each marked DiAngelo and made it almost impossible for her to get to the ball.
"I was very proud we were able to shut down their key player," Baker said. "They didn't seem to have much of an attack without that. We denied her the ball most of the game, I think there were fewer [opportunities] than she's seen."
Kate Forrester made seven saves for Keshequa.