THEILLS – At the beginning, it looked like Scarsdale would run over the Red Raiders.
North Rockland was on its heels, struggling to gain any semblance of possession and getting hammered in the defensive third, for the opening minutes of its Class AA first-round game.
Kelly Brady changed that in a matter of seconds.
In the 13th minute, the freshman managed to gain control of the ball at the midfield and charged up the field. Her left-footed strike soared past the reach of Scarsdale goalkeeper Christina Coco to suddenly give North Rockland the lead.https://twitter.com/kmbsports10/status/789944842600189953
After that, everything else came easy enough for the seventh-seeded Red Raiders, who would go on to beat 10th-seeded Scarsdale by a 1-0 score.
“I was going to cross it, but then I saw I had an open net,” Brady said. “So I just took the shot.”
Scarsdale, which had beaten North Rockland 1-0 in mid-September, struggled to create scoring chances the rest of the game despite periods of sustained possession. The best chance came in the 47th minute, when Allison Stafford’s long free kick went just over the top right corner.
“We were doing all the right things, but we couldn’t just get one to go our way,” Scarsdale head coach Mindy Genovese said. “They played really hard, but North Rockland is a very tough team. It was physical, and we knew it would be a physical game going in.”
Last year around this time, Brady was an eighth-grader called up from junior varsity to help shore up an injury-depleted forward group.
But in the more recent stretch of games, North Rockland head coach Pete McGovern decided to move Brady back.
“She’s a runner, she does a really good job in running forward and in that aspect, it gives her the ability to move forward and see the field,” he said of the position switch. “It’s really opened up her game quite a bit.”
Given the result, it is hard to argue with his logic.
“I like forward, but I definitely feel like I’m doing my part for the team at defensive mid,” Brady said.
North Rockland will travel to second-seeded Arlington in the next round on Tuesday.
“It’s going to be tough,” Brady said. “But we’ll be playing our hardest and just play Red Raider soccer.”
Player of the game: Kelly Brady, North Rockland. In addition to her goal, she helped create her team’s second-best scoring chance when she dribbled up the left wing and sent a cross that found Sophie Morello, who was unable to get a clean touch on the ball.
Turning point: With time winding down, Scarsdale made one last push for an equalizer and was awarded a free kick deep on the right side of North Rockland’s box. The ensuing kick was missed by North Rockland goalie Jenna Braunagel and fell loose, but Scarsdale was unable to capitalize and the ball was eventually cleared out.
Quotable: “It was a high-intensity game, so once Kelly put that goal in the back of the net, it gave us an ‘ah, OK we got this, settle in and play our soccer,’ ” said senior forward Naya Rivera, who missed sectionals last year due to an injury. “It’s great to be playing with my team back with these girls who’ve always had my back. It feels really good to be able to go out there and play with them.”