Arlington girls advance with OT thriller
Back and forth, back and forth, back and forth … for a scoreless game, the Section 1 Class AA girls’ soccer quarterfinals between Arlington and North Rockland high school was highly entertaining.
But, as these one-and-done contests often are, it was also wracked with tense moments. Throw in a pinch of controversy, and you got yourself a heck of a great game.
Arlington’s Ally Pushkarsh scored the only goal on a rebound with 30 seconds left in the first 10-minute overtime, and the No. 3 Admirals beat sixth-seeded and defending champion North Rockland, 1-0, on Thursday afternoon.
Arlington will play No. 2 Scarsdale on Friday in the semifinals, with the winner of that moving on to the sectional title game on Sunday afternoon at Yorktown High School.
Both teams had their chances during the game. Arlington’s defense, collectively, came up big. North Rockland goalie Shannon Robinson, singularly, came up bigger, with two spectacular saves.
But in the end, the one save she made bounced the wrong way.
“I took the shot and she came out and made a nice play,” said Arlington’s Miranda Tarpey. “It was all a blur because I didn’t know what happened next. Thank God Ally was there.”
Pushkarsh was standing firm on the left side of the goal when Robinson came out from the right to stop Tarpey’s initial shot. The ball caromed to the sophomore perfectly, and Pushkarsh sort of gave it a combination of her head and chest and nudged it into the net with 30 seconds remaining in the first OT.
As far as the North Rockland staff was concerned, however, the play shouldn’t have even gotten that far. Arlington stole the ball from the Raiders at the top of the box just prior to Tarpey turning and firing. But there appeared to be a foul on the play, which brought North Rockland coach Vinny Apicella and his assistant literally leaping off the bench.
“It was a penalty called that got missed,” Apicella said. “It’s tough. The guy missed it at a bad time. But we couldn’t be more proud of our girls. It’s been a long season but they got better and better and better as the season went along.”
Both teams had their moments of domination. Arlington lived in North Rockland’s end for the first half, and if not for Robinson’s acrobatics would have had a 2-0 lead. The Raiders came back after halftime and owned the Admirals for the next 40 minutes.
“We talked about at halftime the things we needed to do better and we just didn’t do it,” Arlington coach Kieran McIlvenny said. “We got frantic. North Rockland played brilliant in the second half. They hustled better than we did and, to be honest, the last five minutes (of regulation) we lived dangerously. But the overtime period it was all us. How we’ve been successful all season is to play as a team. I thought we play our best soccer in the overtime.”