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Noelle Perciballi

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Kings Park's Jessica Hoyt tangles with an opponent. Photo by Desirée Keegan

One bolt of lightning cut short the Kings Park girls’ soccer team’s chances of remaining undefeated Friday afternoon.

Kings Park's Genevieve Carpenter breaks away with the ball. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Kings Park’s Genevieve Carpenter breaks away with the ball. Photo by Desirée Keegan

With 6:05 left on the clock, the referees saw lightning and immediately called the game as per Section XI rules, leaving Hauppauge ahead, 3-1, and ending the Kingsmen’s 12-game unbeaten streak.

“We’re playing very shorthanded — we’re down three starters, and they still played their butts off,” Kings Park head coach Bryan LoPalo said of his team. “We got girls filling in in positions they’re not comfortable in and they’re doing a pretty good job, but it’s a tough team that we just played.”

In the first half, with 21:53 left to play, senior forward and co-captain Genevieve Carpenter took a long shot from outside the right goal side, and as the Hauppauge goalkeeper came out of the box to make a save, the ball rolled past her and into the empty net for the early 1-0 lead despite Hauppauge dominating the time of possession up until that point.

Five minutes later, Hauppauge tied the game, 1-1, when Nicole Scudero scored off a foul kick. While Kings Park was still trying to set up blockers, Scudero saw an opportunity to take advantage of the Kingsmen’s scrambling and hit her mark with a straight shot to the top left corner of the net, past a diving Caroline Galdorisi.

Kings Park's Shakila Sevanan throws the ball into play. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Kings Park’s Shakila Sevanan throws the ball into play. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Coming into the second half like it was a new game, Carpenter had another early attempt, but couldn’t capitalize as her shot rebounded off the cage.

Again, minutes later, Hauppauge had its chance, but Lauren Mastandrea made sure her shot off a cross into the box just made it past a Kings Park defender who was guarding the goal after Galdorisi came out to attempt to make a save, giving the Eagles their first lead, 2-1.

With 6:22 left to play, Hauppauge made an attempt that was saved by Galdorisi but she couldn’t get a good grasp on the ball, and Scudero grabbed the rebound and sent it in for the 3-1 advantage. Galdorisi, a senior and co-captain, made nine saves on the evening.

“It’s a great team, they’re a very talented group, they’re just a little shorthanded right now and they’ll get it back together,” LoPalo said of his players. “They showed toughness, they showed heart. They don’t stop; they didn’t quit. We know what we’re doing, but it’s not our best game of the year.”

Kings Park's Noelle Perciballi winds up to strike the ball out of midfield. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Kings Park’s Noelle Perciballi winds up to strike the ball out of midfield. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Play was stopped just seconds later on account of the lightning, and with that it was up in the air as to whether or not Kings Park was still undefeated. As per Section XI on Tuesday, the results have officially counted. With the loss, the Kingsmen drop to 8-1-2 in League IV (9-1-3 overall) but are still top, while Hauppauge moves to second place (9-2-0).

Moving forward, LoPalo said he needs his team to remain healthy, in the hopes that it can make the playoff push he’s looking for.

“Hauppauge was giving us their all — they played hard and they played well,” LoPalo said. “But our goal is to be state champs. That’s always the goal. If we can stay healthy, we have a lot of ability and I think at this point in time, it’s just that our bench got shortened, so girls are playing more time than they really should have to.”

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Kings Park's Kayla Homeyer competes in a game against Huntington last season. File photo by Desirée Keegan

By Joe Galotti

The schedule makers did not do the Smithtown East girls’ soccer team any favors during their first month of the season. The Bulls are currently in the middle of a stretch in which they play four games in six days, and in their matchup against Kings Park on Tuesday afternoon, fatigue was certainly a factor.

After winning a physical and hard-fought game against crosstown rival Smithtown West on Monday, Smithtown East allowed the Kingsmen to dominate much of the play in Tuesday’s contest, but strong play in their own end and a 17-save performance by sophomore goalkeeper Cat Sheppard, allowed the Bulls to keep things close on the scoreboard, and ultimately, leave the field with a 1-1 draw.

Smithtown East head coach Bill Hamilton made the decision to give his regular starters limited playing time in the nonleague matchup. Despite that, he was pleased that his team was still able to avoid their first loss of the season.

“Given the fact that they had about 30 attempted shots in the game, I’m happy it came out as a tie,” Hamilton said. “I told the team today, at the beginning, that I don’t care about how the game goes, as long as we play hard. And they did.”

Kings Park head coach, Bryan LoPalo, also seemed satisfied with the way his team played in the match, despite the fact that his club failed to come away victorious.

“It was not the result we wanted, but the effort was outstanding,” LoPalo said. “I feel like we played our style of soccer and it was a good game.”

Most of the contest was played on the Bulls’ side of the field, with the Kingsmen preventing their opponent from breaking through the middle of the field. LoPalo highlighted the defensive efforts of seniors Shakila Sevanan and Francesca Timpone, and juniors Alexa Biegler and Kayla Homeyer in the game.

Kings Park controlled play through much of the first half, but still entered the intermission trailing 1-0. Sheppard’s strong play in net held the Kingsmen off the scoreboard, and sophomore midfielder Emma Heiser found the back of the net for the Bulls, to give her team the early advantage.

With just under 28 minutes remaining in the second half, Kings Park finally broke through.

A Genevieve Carpenter deflection, off a cross by teammate Selena Ubriaco, was too much for Sheppard to handle, and the ball found its way just over the goal line for the score.

“I just saw Selena coming down the line, and she crossed it, Carpenter said. “I was just trying to help make sure that it went in the goal, and it did. That ended up being a good result for us.”

Kings Park continued to put pressure on Smithtown East during the game’s final stretch, but Sheppard stood tall for the Bulls. The netminder made numerous big saves, including key late-game stops on golden opportunities by Carpenter and senior forward Noelle Perciballi.

“I kept focusing on the ball, and as we continued on, I was able to keep my head in the game,” Sheppard said. “I was a little tired from the game yesterday, but I wanted to get a good result here, and I knew I had to push through.”

Smithtown East continued on with their challenging stretch today, when they visit North Babylon at 4 p.m. Kings Park will also be back in action today, as they hit the road to face off against Deer Park at 6 p.m.