Greeley breaks through, rallies past Ossining
In the first half of Thursday's match between Ossining and Horace Greeley, Pride goalie Jalay Knowles was simply unbeatable. The 6-foot sophomore basketball standout was akin to a brick wall, making 10 first-half saves to keep the game scoreless at the break.
But even a brick wall crumbles when placed under constant duress.
Greeley (2-0) — which outshot Ossining 18-3 overall — broke through with three second-half goals to score a 3-1 victory over the host Pride (1-1).
"We came together in the second half because we knew we had to score," Quakers senior midfielder Olivia Kerester said.
Super sub Lindsay Hill struck first in the 49th minute, using her height to head in a lofting corner kick from teammate Sadie Rutman. The goal — which evened the contest at 1-1 — came less than a minute after Gabby Hagerman gave Ossining a short-lived 1-0 lead.
"We always practice (Rutman) taking corner kicks and I'm always the target player in the middle," Hill said of the equalizer. "This one was coming right toward me. I knew I had to get it into the top corner, so I flicked it to the left corner and it went in."
And then the goals just started flowing. Greeley scored all three of its goals in the span of roughly nine minutes.
"They always say the most dangerous minutes in soccer are the five minutes after you score," Hill said.
Kerester tallied the go-ahead in the 55th minute, pouncing on a rebound off a shot from Amanda Becker. Kerester finished with confidence, slotting the ball into the lower left corner of the net.
"I had to shoot it hard or the goalie would've gotten it," said Kerester, who was named all-section last year. "(Knowles) is a very good keeper, so I knew that I had to put it past her somehow."
Becker stretched the lead to 3-1 in the 58th minute, running onto a crafty through ball from Melissa Ardizzone.
Despite coming up short, Ossining coach Phil Ishmael was quite impressed with the play of Knowles, who only picked up the sport last year. Overall, the burgeoning talent made 15 saves.
"Jalay did very, very well," Ishmael said. "To be honest, this is a very new game for her. She's a very good athlete and her No. 1 game is basketball and we are taking advantage of that. She's energized, athletic and she did a great job today."
For a young Ossining squad, it was a promising showing against one of Section 1 Class AA's stronger sides.
"Greeley's a good team," Ishmael said. "They are stronger and faster. We held our ground in the first half, but slowly they started to wear us down. We are a lot younger team and it showed in some places. But my girls did very, very well."
Moving forward, Greeley's thinking big. While it certainly won't be easy, there's enough talent on the Quakers' roster to win their first sectional crown since 2007.
"We are going to be a great team and I have high expectations for us," Hill said.
Email Isaac Cass at Icass@cablevision.com | Follow him on Twitter @MSGV_Icass