CORTLAND – History!
“This is the most incredible feeling I’ve ever had,” senior Emily Allen said.
“This gives me an amazing sense of accomplishment,” junior Kiana Jedlicka said.
“This was absolutely perfect,” sophomore Kendall Feighan said.
This was history.
The Arlington girls soccer team made program history on Sunday, capturing its first state title. To do so, the Admirals pulled off a dramatic double-overtime comeback that made history of Massapequa’s three-year reign as Class AA state champion.
As for the present… The Admirals can’t stop smiling. And that might continue for the foreseeable future.
Kendall Feighan tied the score late in regulation and her sister, Molly Feighan, notched the winner in this epic as upstart Arlington edged mighty Massapequa High School, 2-1, in the state final at SUNY Cortland.
Molly Feighan delivered the biggest goal of her career with 7:18 left in the second overtime. The junior took a long outlet pass from Michaela Fasolino, drove by two defenders inside the box and, from five yards out, lifted a ball into the left corner to put her team ahead and put Arlington into state tournament lore.
Molly Sobolewski said she might wear the championship T-Shirt to school on Monday. Grandkids, someday, will be regaled by this tale.
“It was in the back of our minds and now it’s real,” said Feighan, typically reserved but struggling now to stifle her excitement. “We just did something no Arlington (girls soccer) team has ever done!”
It was her little sister who, perhaps, saved the season. Two minutes after Massapequa took the lead, Kendall Feighan answered with 11 minutes left. She took a cross from Molly Feighan and settled the ball in front of the goal before drilling it into the upper left corner.
“She’s literally my best friend,” Kendall said of her sister. “So to have her get the assist on that is really cool. That’s something we’ll share forever.”
Molly, who scored six times in the Admirals’ final three games, described her sibling’s shot as “perfect.”
The teams appeared evenly matched. Both several chances to score but close calls, missed opportunities, and exceptional defensive plays kept them in a stalemate. That is, until Julia Hannon scored with 13:31 left for Massapequa. With a step of separation, she dribbled down the ring wing and fired into the right corner.
“At that point, you’re feeling it,” senior Melanie Sarnicola said. “It’s tense. But I’ve never lost confidence in this team.”
Arlington (21-3) took control in the final minutes and, after tying it, had chances to win in regulation. The Admirals had the would-be winner waved off with 30 seconds left on an offsides call.
But that, of course, became moot.
“Everything we’ve wanted and worked for came together,” said goalie Becky Gold, who made five of her 13 saves in overtime.
Gold had a number of spectacular stops, but perhaps none more important that her leaping grab of a line drive from the right flank with 2:39 left in overtime. She also withstood the Chiefs’ 10-minute barrage late in the first half.
“She was incredible,” Sobolewski said. As was Hayley Poltorak, who thwarted a number of chances to lead Massapequa (17-2-2).
The Admirals defense — anchored by Sobolewski, Anneliese Tucci and Emily Allen — successfully contained Massapequa star Hope Breslin, a prolific scorer whom for four years had made the state tournament her playground.
Stephanie Seefeldt said after Arlington’s state semifinal win that her team wouldn’t pay any mind to history, insisting that Massapequa’s past success didn’t much matter now, and this was “our year.”
And necessary ones for a program that hadn’t come this far since 2011, that never had reached the summit, that was booted quickly from the playoffs just last season. This wasn’t supposed to be Arlington’s year. Then again, the Admirals also weren’t supposed to have five comeback victories in the playoffs.
But another one? In the state final? In double overtime? Against the juggernaut?
It’s one for the history books.
Stephen Haynes: email@example.com, 845-437-4826, Twitter: @StephenHaynes4