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Jillian Colucci

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Grace Swords flies over the Center Moriches goalkeeper after taking a shot. Photo by Desirée Keegan

By Desirée Keegan

It seems nothing can stop Jillian Colucci.

The Port Jefferson girls’ soccer team’s senior forward was double-teamed most of the way, but continued to power past defenders, scoring four goals to lead the Royals to a 6-2 win over Center Moriches Sept. 13.

Jillian Colucci fights for possession of the ball. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Jillian Colucci fights for possession of the ball. Photo by Desirée Keegan

A 1-0 deficit didn’t stop the team either.

After senior forward Clare O’Connor’s throw-in reached classmate Brittany Fazin, the midfielder tapped the ball to Colucci, who raced ahead of the pack and knocked the ball into the left corner to tie the game. After she blocked a pass in the middle six minutes later, Colucci ran to the top of the box, where she tapped in another pass to give the Royals the lead. Her hat trick goal came minutes later, when after racing alongside Fazin, she took a pass at the 20-yard line, again beat out the defense and found the back of the net for a 3-1 advantage heading into the halftime break.

“They don’t give up,” Port Jefferson head coach Allyson Wolff said of her Royals. “We were down 1-0 and I think that sparked them to pull together and play like a team. It makes them play harder. That’s what I love to see.”

Fazin was next to light up the scoreboard. She extended the lead at the 33:46 mark by beating a double-team.

“I missed so many in the beginning, and it was scary, so when I saw Clare [O’Connor] had the ball, I made a run wide and knew it wasn’t going to me, so I took a step back and let the girl head the ball in front of me,” she said. “I looked for a space between the two defenders ahead of me, I settled it down, tapped it and looked right to the corner.”

Clare O’Connor dribbles downfield. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Clare O’Connor dribbles downfield. Photo by Desirée Keegan

The Royals have a cohesive unit, thanks in large part to returning all but one senior from the 2015 roster. Their ground game and communication are what help the team shine.

Colucci said the team also shows poise, even in tough situations.

“In the past we’ve come back a lot during games,” she said. “We don’t let it get in our heads — even when the game got physical — we just do what we do, which is possess the ball, connect and communicate.”

Possessing the ball aided the Royals in wearing down the Red Devils.

“We passed it on the ground and kept playing back instead of going forward so much,” Fazin said. “We possessed and waited for the right moment to go forward, and that definitely tired out the other team.”

Mikayla Yannucci heads the ball out of Port Jefferson’s zone. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Mikayla Yannucci heads the ball out of Port Jefferson’s zone. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Colucci scored her fourth goal of the game on a penalty kick. The Royals put away their sixth goal when they were awarded a corner kick and Katie Connolly was in front this time to make it 6-2.

With the win, Port Jefferson extended its winning streak to three games. The team travels to McGann-Mercy on Sept. 15 for a 4:30 p.m. matchup.

Wolff said she is pleased with what she has seen in her defending state-champions so far, and is looking forward to seeing what else the girls can do.

“This is probably one of our toughest opponents in the league and I thought that they played really well together; I’m proud of them,” Wolff said of her Class C team going up against a B team in Center Moriches. “The bond, the leadership — they all lead in their own way.”

Colucci said she is confident in her team’s ability to get the job done again this year.

“We’re building up our momentum with each game we play, and we’re getting better and better with communication and possession,” she said. “Our goal is to get back to states, so we’re just going to keep working hard.”

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Jillian Colucci makes her way to the basket untouched after forcing a tunrover. Photo by Desirée Keegan

The No. 1-seeded Port Jefferson girls’ basketball team stayed toe-to-toe with its No. 2 Pierson/Bridgehampton challenger through two quarters on Tuesday, but as time wound down, the hole the Royals found themselves in grew too deep to pull out of. The team fell 69-50 in the Suffolk County Class C finals at Riverhead High School.

“We had a fantastic season,” Port Jefferson head coach Ed Duddy said. “We started out slow, and they all came together to go on a 10-game streak. We won the league, which I didn’t expect at all, and it all came down to this game … and [Pierson/Bridgehampton] won the war.”

The girls also came together in the first 16 minutes of the game.

Port Jefferson junior forward Courtney Lewis scored the first points of a matchup that was just seven seconds old, but a minute later, Pierson countered to even the score. Lewis did it again, and after the Whalers tacked on another field goal, she added a free-throw point. She followed it up with her third field goal to put the Royals out front, 7-4. The junior banked two more points off a layup in the quarter but her team let up on defense, and the Royals were down 16-11 heading into the second quarter.

This time, it was Pierson that scored first, with a 3-pointer, followed by the two teams trading field goals before junior guard Jillian Colucci’s free-throw point made it 21-14.

After another Whalers field goal, Colucci’s own field goal and three free-throw points and junior guard Annabelle Soucy’s 3-pointer helped draw the Royals within one, 23-22. But that was as close as Port Jefferson would come the rest of the way.

“We didn’t tighten up the defense like I thought we were gonna, but also our shots didn’t fall,” Duddy said. “We got into foul trouble a little bit, but that’s the way it goes.”

Despite back-to-back treys by Soucy and Colucci, and a Lewis trifecta with 1:06 left in the third, the Royals deficit remained as a result of the lack of pressure under the boards.

Up 52-44, Pierson went on a 10-point streak before Port Jefferson junior forward Gillian Kenah scored the Royals’ first points of the quarter off an offense rebound from a missed Soucy attempt, with 2:56 left to play.

Duddy said he thought his girls got frustrated after the Whalers knocked down some threes and long field goals. He added that the Royals switched between man-to-man and zone defense and passed the ball to try to minimize the damage, but to no avail.

Lewis finished with a team-high 21 points, Colucci added 11 and Soucy finished with eight.

Despite the season being cut short, Duddy said his Royals can walk away from this season with their heads held high, as it has consistently been able to improve with each season.

“We’ve done a lot of things,” he said. “We just have to take it to that next level come the playoffs. We’re all coming back next year, and [Pierson’s team will] all be back, too. But I’m proud of my girls. I told them in the locker room that I couldn’t ask any more of them.”

With every player returning to the roster next season, the Royals will be looking to make another postseason run, and Duddy is hoping to send them off on a high note.

“I’ve been with them since they were freshmen, and I want to see them out as seniors,” he said.

When asked if he thinks his team can continue to reach new heights, Duddy said, “Hell yeah. I told them, ‘If you’re in, I’m in.’”

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Port Jefferson's Courtney Lewis, who scored a double-double off a game-high 32 points and 10 rebounds, goes up for a layup in the Royals' 55-31 win over Southold/Greenport on Jan. 25 to extend their winning streak to six games. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Behind Courtney Lewis’ double-double Monday night, the Port Jefferson girls’ basketball team kept the ball rolling with a 55-31 victory over Southold/Greenport to extend the Royals’ winning streak to six games.

Port Jefferson's Courtney Lewis reaches up to the board. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Port Jefferson’s Courtney Lewis reaches up to the board. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Lewis recorded 32 points, 10 rebounds and six assits.

“They’re starting to come together,” Port Jefferson head coach Ed Duddy said. “We started off slow in the beginning … [but] now I think everyone knows their role.”

Port Jefferson had trouble getting shots to fall until Lewis’ field goal at the 5:17 mark, which started the junior forward and guard’s 10-point tear in the first quarter.

“She’s a great captain,” junior point guard Jillian Colucci said of Lewis. “She boosts us all up and she’s so talented. Her scoring gets us all going and gets us working hard.”

Southold remained in the game by scoring seven points to Lewis’ 10, but Port Jefferson sophomore guard Annabelle Soucy nailed a three-pointer with 30.6 seconds left to extend the Royals’ lead.

Lewis tacked on a three-point play to start the second stanza and then added four more points while Colucci tacked on a three-pointer to put Port Jefferson up 23-20 at halftime.

But the Royals were just getting warmed up.

Port Jefferson's Annabelle Soucy drives to the basket. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Port Jefferson’s Annabelle Soucy drives to the basket. Photo by Desirée Keegan

“Our coach’s halftime speech motivated us to come out stronger in the second half,” Lewis said. “I think our teamwork and team chemistry was great. We had a lot of assists and connected our passes a lot, and our fast breaks were great today.”

Those fast breaks and assists helped the Royals jump out to a 43-25 lead by the end of the third, with Lewis scoring 11 of the team’s 20 points and Colucci adding six.

In the final quarter, the Royals limited Southold to just two points by the 2:22 mark, while scoring eight more of their own. Southold added a field goal and two free throws in the final minutes, but Lewis added two free throws of her own to finish 9-for-10 from the charity stripe on the evening, and Soucy completed the scoring with a layup.

Colucci finished with 11 points and eight rebounds to help Port Jefferson to a 7-1 record in League VII.

“It’s Courtney, it’s Jillian, it’s a little bit of everybody,” Duddy said. “Jillian had a terrific game today. She did everything a point guard has to do with great passes and great defense and assists, but Annabelle and Jackie Brown have been playing very well, too. They’re all part of the team, but I think they all feed off of Courtney, and when she gets double- or triple-teamed she can kick it out to her teammates and they get easy layups.”

Port Jefferson's Jillian Colucci crosses the ball into Southold/Greenport's zone. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Port Jefferson’s Jillian Colucci crosses the ball into Southold/Greenport’s zone. Photo by Desirée Keegan

As the team moves forward with only one loss in its conference, Colucci said the Royals have their sights on the top spot in the league, where Mattituck currently sits at 10-1.

But the point guard said she’s confident in her team’s ability after the Royals edged out Mattituck, 53-52, back on Jan. 11.

“That was a really good booster for us,” Colucci said. “But since we’re a core group of juniors that have been playing together for so long, the teamwork that we’ve developed helps us most.”

Lewis said the team had a rough first half the season, starting it off with losses to Comsewogue, Mount Sinai and Pierson/Bridgehampton, but has come together to propel the Royals to their winning streak.

“This is my favorite sport and my favorite team,” Lewis said. “They’re all so great and we all help each other do better. We had a rough first half of the season but we picked it up and we took off. We don’t want to lose another game. We want to finish the season on a streak.”

Port Jefferson junior Courtney Lewis scores a game-high 23 points in the Royals' 61-55 win

Miller Place's Milan Hatcher knocks down a layup in the Panthers' 61-55 nonleague loss to Port Jefferson. Photo by Bill Landon
Port Jefferson's Courtney Lewis drives the baseline in the Royals' 61-55 nonleague win over Miller Place on Dec. 12. Photo by Bill Landon
Port Jefferson’s Courtney Lewis drives the baseline in the Royals’ 61-55 nonleague win over Miller Place on Dec. 12. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Behind junior Courtney Lewis’ game-high 23 points, Port Jefferson led most of the way, until late in the third quarter when Miller Place rallied back to take a three-point lead, but the Royals bounced back midway through the fourth, defeating their nonleague challenger on the road Saturday morning, 61-55.

With a roster void of seniors, the Royals played beyond their years as they controlled the tempo of the game, leading 19-10 after the first quarter, and took a 31-25 advantage into the halftime break.

The Panthers closed the gap with two minutes left in the third quarter, when sophomore Ally Tarantino scored a put-back off a rebound to tie the game at 37-37, and senior Milan Hatcher answered next, driving the lane and muscling her way to the rim for the score to put her team out front for the first time in the game, 39-37. Hatcher had a hot hand in the third, scoring 11 of her total 15 points, including a pair of three-pointers. At the end of the stanza, Miller Place held a 40-39 lead.

“I told my players to keep running plays; keep calm, and we had to play good defense because [Port Jefferson has] good shooters,” Hatcher said. “They like to drive and kick out. They’re a good team.”

With 4:09 left in the game, the Panthers clung to a three-point lead, out in front 49-46.

Miller Place's Milan Hatcher knocks down a layup in the Panthers' 61-55 nonleague loss to Port Jefferson. Photo by Bill Landon
Miller Place’s Milan Hatcher knocks down a layup in the Panthers’ 61-55 nonleague loss to Port Jefferson. Photo by Bill Landon

The free-throw performance was bleak, as both teams left points on the table. With her team leading 50-49, Hatcher went to the stripe shooting two, and missed both.

With just over two minutes left in the contest, still trailing by one, Port Jefferson junior Siobhan Petracca went to the line shooting two, and she too came away empty.

“It was a disappointing loss,” Miller Place senior Jessica Powers said. “We knew exactly what they had. We came up short, which hurt us, and we didn’t play as a team.”

Port Jefferson junior Gillian Kenah, who scored 16 points in the game behind Lewis’ 23, said she was impressed with the Panthers’ offensive effort.

“We played a really solid game — we came out pressing immediately and I think that worked really well for us,” Kenah said. “But they came back at us even after our press, so I applaud them for that.”

Both teams traded baskets, and Lewis went to the line shooting two, hitting the front end but missing the back, to help her team edge ahead 53-51.

Miller Place's Danielle Bamnola goes to the rim in a Dec. 12 nonleague home loss to Port Jefferson, 61-55. Photo by Bill Landon
Miller Place’s Danielle Bamnola goes to the rim in a Dec. 12 nonleague home loss to Port Jefferson, 61-55. Photo by Bill Landon

“We knew they had some good players, so we had to adjust our defense, but we did well rebounding, which is something we don’t usually do,” Lewis said. “They had two players guarding our best players in a triangle, so we had to adjust to it, to try and break that up.”

At the 1:36 mark, Tarantino, with a dominant performance on the boards, scored on another put-back to tie the game again.

“We expected them to come out strong and they did,” Tarantino said. “We came out a little flat in the first half. Coach told us after the game to keep going up strong [to the rim] and don’t fade away.”

From the 53-53 tie, the game was decided at the foul line, as both teams lost players due to foul trouble.

Port Jefferson freshman Jocelyn Lebron was fouled as she drove the lane with just over a minute left, and scored on her first free-throw attempt. Although she missed the second, Lewis grabbed the rebound for the score to give her team a 56-53 advantage.

“I thought we did very well in handling the pressure from their defense,” Lebron said. “They were what we expected, but we did well on our rebounding and our defensive pressure.”

Lewis tacked on another field goal to help push her team further ahead, 58-53. The junior scored 12 points in the final quarter.

“We missed a lot of foul shots today — we’re much better at the foul line,” Port Jefferson head coach Ed Duddy said.

Port Jefferson's Jocelyn Lebron drives to the basket and scores in the Royals' Dec. 12 61-55 victory over Miller Place. Photo by Bill Landon
Port Jefferson’s Jocelyn Lebron drives to the basket and scores in the Royals’ Dec. 12 61-55 victory over Miller Place. Photo by Bill Landon

Miller Place senior Danielle Bamnola cut the Panthers’ deficit to four with her foul-line appearance with 28 seconds left, but Port Jefferson’s soccer sensation, junior Jillian Colucci, went to the line shooting two and nailed both to maintain the six-point lead, 60-54.

Bamnola and Petracca traded points at the foul line next, to bring the final score to 61-55.

“They’re very talented with a good fast break, and that group has been together since the eighth grade,” Miller Place head coach Joe Read said. “We’ve held our opponent to 30 points a game this season and today we gave up 50, and that goes to the team aspect of it. We’re playing like individuals, especially defensively.”

Read added that despite the loss, he was happy with his team’s skill level against his opponent.

“I’m not upset with how my girls played today, other than they didn’t play as a team, and that to me was the difference,” he said. “If they can play together, they’re capable of great things.”

Miller Place will host League VI challenger Hampton Bays on Tuesday at 4 p.m., while Port Jefferson will host Mount Sinai on Thursday, in a nonleague game scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m.

This version corrects the class level of Siobhan Petracca, the total point count of Gillian Kenah, and the date of Port Jefferson’s next game.

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Port Jefferson's Clare O'Connor kicks the ball behind a defender toward the goal in the Royals' 3-0 win over Haldane for the Southeast Regional title on Nov. 7. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Port Jefferson's Clare O'Connor kicks the ball behind a defender toward the goal in the Royals' 3-0 win over Haldane for the Southeast Regional title on Nov. 7. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Port Jefferson’s Clare O’Connor kicks the ball behind a defender toward the goal in the Royals’ 3-0 win over Haldane for the Southeast Regional title on Nov. 7. Photo by Desirée Keegan

By Desirée Keegan

These Royals continue to rule.

The Port Jefferson girls’ soccer team earned the regional crown on Saturday, topping Cold Spring’s Haldane High School, 3-0, to lengthen their undefeated streak and send them to the state stage.

Port Jefferson celebrates Jillian Colucco's goal in the Royals' 3-0 win over Haldane for the Southeast Regional title on Nov. 7. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Port Jefferson celebrates Jillian Colucco’s goal in the Royals’ 3-0 win over Haldane for the Southeast Regional title on Nov. 7. Photo by Desirée Keegan

That pivotal match came after a perfect season for the Royals in League VII, their second in a row. With no Class C Suffolk County challengers, the girls were named county champs and were sent to the regional finals, where they played the defending state champ.

“These girls play hard right to the end,” Port Jefferson head coach Allyson Wolff said about the Haldane match. “To come out here tonight and beat the last Class C state champion is huge for us and gives us that confidence to go upstate. I think we can do it this year.”

The regional victory is the Royals’ second consecutive title, and sends them to the state playoffs, where they fell last year.

Junior forward Jillian Colucci got the ball rolling for the Royals with 12:45 remaining in the first half. The co-captain received a pass up the middle from senior midfielder and co-captain Olivia Love, and chipped the ball to the left from 10 yards out. It just passed the Haldane goalkeeper’s outstretched arms, bouncing into the left corner for the 1-0 lead.

“My teammate Olivia Love — we have a chemistry that I can’t really describe, but I just knew she was going to play the ball … and as the ball bounced I told myself just to get a touch on it, since I saw the goalie coming out of the box,” Colucci said. “I think our possession and our communication was really good today, and we’re going upstate because of it.”

Port Jefferson's Jillian Colucci races downfield with a defender on her hip in the Royals' 3-0 win over Haldane for the Southeast Regional title on Nov. 7. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Port Jefferson’s Jillian Colucci races downfield with a defender on her hip in the Royals’ 3-0 win over Haldane for the Southeast Regional title on Nov. 7. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Opening the second half, sophomore goalkeeper Brianna Scarda made a save to maintain her team’s lead, and junior midfielder Brittany Fazin repaid her with another goal. After leading a pack of defenders and squeezing between two to get ahead at the front of the net, she sent her shot into the left corner past a diving Haldane goalkeeper for the 2-0 advantage.

“I was really scared for that moment because I had a similar opportunity earlier and missed it, but I knew going to it that I could do it,” Fazin said. “So I threw myself on the ball and got the goal.”

With 19:32 on the clock, Scarda made another one of her eight saves on the evening to preserve the clean sheet. Several minutes later, Fazin helped set up the next goal when she crossed a pass from the 20-yard line over to the right sideline 10 yards out from the net to Grace Swords, a sophomore forward, who crossed her shot high above the goalkeeper’s head and into the far left corner for the final score of the game.

Despite allowing three goals, Haldane’s goalkeeper, Sara Labriola, put in a lot of work — she made 19 stops on the evening.

Port Jefferson's Brittany Fazin maintains possession in the Royals' 3-0 win over Haldane for the Southeast Regional title on Nov. 7. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Port Jefferson’s Brittany Fazin maintains possession in the Royals’ 3-0 win over Haldane for the Southeast Regional title on Nov. 7. Photo by Desirée Keegan

“Leading up to this week we all focused so hard and we practiced as hard as we’ve ever practiced in our lives, and we had the mindset that we could to this,” Fazin said. “I think our speed and our vision helped us a lot. I think we were very good out of the air, too. I’m new to the school and to the team and this feels great. I love these girls.”

Colucci was also proud of her team’s outcome.

“There was so much anticipation going into this game because we had three weeks from our last league game until here, so it feels amazing to have our hard work pay off,” she said. “I think our possession and our communication was really good today.”

Although the game was slow to start, the Royals thrive on forward motion.

“Once that one goal kicked in, it got their momentum going, their fire burning and their confidence boosted,” Wolff said. “I said from the very beginning that they could do it and they prove it when they step on the field. They’re a great group of girls and it’s just a pleasure and an honor coaching this group. They have that drive and desire to win and hopefully we can do it upstate.”

Port Jefferson will take on Caledonia-Mumford on Saturday in the state semifinals at Cortland High School Field 1 at 5 p.m. If the Royals win, they will move on to play in the finals on Sunday, at 9:30 a.m. at SUNY Cortland’s Red Field.

Port Jefferson celebrates after its 3-0 win over Haldane for the Southeast Regional title on Nov. 7. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Port Jefferson celebrates after its 3-0 win over Haldane for the Southeast Regional title on Nov. 7. Photo by Desirée Keegan

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Port Jefferson junior forward and co-captain Jillian Colucci shoots and scores through a crowd of Babylon defenders. Photo by Desirée Keegan

By Desirée Keegan

After dropping the first two non-league games of the season, the Port Jefferson girls’ soccer team is back on track after topping Babylon Monday, 4-1, to continue a three-game League VII winning streak.

“Coming from being Class B and beating them in the Suffolk County Championship last year and now dropping down to Class C, it is definitely a big win for us today,” head coach Allyson Wolff said. “In the beginning of the season we played some tough opponents in Ward Melville and Center Moriches and we felt like the girls weren’t talking or communicating, so we worked on that and our passing in practice, keeping it simple and playing to feet — not just trying to kick the ball — so I feel we definitely stepped it up for this game.”

Port Jefferson sophomore midfielder Hailey Reale feels pressure from a Babylon defender as she maintains possession of the ball. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Port Jefferson sophomore midfielder Hailey Reale feels pressure from a Babylon defender as she maintains possession of the ball. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Port Jefferson sophomore goalkeeper Brianna Scarda made several big saves to keep the score 0-0, and the Royals had some chances at a goal early on, but Babylon’s defense came up with the stops.

Although opening the second half still in a stalemate, the Royals were quick to make up for lost time after speaking with Wolff at halftime.

“At halftime I told them that they weren’t playing our game,” Wolff said. “Babylon was beating us to the ball and stepping in front of us, and I told them that if we were going to let them do this, then we’re not going to win. I told them that they have to want it and it has to come from their heart, and told them that the other team looked like it wanted it more than they did, and I think that got them angry and sparked something.”

Port Jefferson junior midfielder and forward Clare O'Connor sends the ball into play during the Royals' 4-1 win over Babylon on Sept. 21. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Port Jefferson junior midfielder and forward Clare O’Connor sends the ball into play during the Royals’ 4-1 win over Babylon on Sept. 21. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Less than four minutes in, junior forward Jillian Colucci beat out the Babylon goalkeeper, who came out of the box to try and make a save, and shot the ball into the right side of an empty net off an assist from junior midfielder and forward Clare O’Connor, for the 1-0 lead.

“I knew I was going to get the pass, so I started running and felt the defense on my back, but I was able to touch it past the goalie and did whatever I could do to continue to touch it into the net,” she said.

At the 29:48 mark, after O’Connor sent the ball into play, Colucci attempted a goal through a swarm of defenders, and junior midfielder and forward Brittany Fazin put out her foot to stop the rebound and sent the ball into the right corner for a 2-0 advantage.

Off another assist from O’Connor, who crossed the ball into the box after a foul call, Colucci scored her second goal with a straight shot up the middle through traffic and past the keeper. She followed it up with her hat trick goal when, again, the Babylon goalkeeper came out of the box, leaving the net empty.

“The game was intense, and it always is against Babylon,” Colucci said. “Since we’re only playing them once this season we knew we had to step up and play them as hard as we could and keep our record strong against them.”

Port Jefferson junior midfielder and forward Brittany Fazin kicks the ball behind her to keep the pressure in Babylon's zone. Colucci would grab the pass and score on the play, and the Royals went on to beat the Panthers, 4-1, on Sept. 21. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Port Jefferson junior midfielder and forward Brittany Fazin kicks the ball behind her to keep the pressure in Babylon’s zone. Colucci would grab the pass and score on the play, and the Royals went on to beat the Panthers, 4-1, on Sept. 21. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Scarda made a save, her last of 18 on the afternoon, exactly three minutes after the Royals’ final goal to preserve the clean sheet for the time being, but after a goalie change, senior Noelle Zimmermann gave up a goal with 5:07 left to play, to bring the final score to 4-1.

“We really, really earned it,” Scarda said of the win. “All the nerves that we had — being scared about the game, we took and converted into our skill and our playing. We got our heads in the zone every chance we got and we trained very, very hard leading up to this game.”

What helped the Royals was that the team was playing to feet instead of chasing the ball in the air like they did in the first half.

“We don’t have good control of it [in the air], and when they play things to feet it’s pretty, it’s beautiful and it makes things happen,” assistant coach Michele Aponte said. “They’re a stronger group of girls together, especially getting to the level they got to last year. They want it.”

Port Jefferson travels to McGann-Mercy Friday, for a 4:30 p.m. game. The Royals have topped the Monarchs all six times they faced their opponent in the last three seasons.