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