MIDDLETOWN – Molly Feighan! Molly Feighan! Molly Feighan!
Say that three times fast.
Not as a tongue twister, but it would make for a decent impersonation of the public address announcer during the Class AA girls soccer regional on Saturday.
Feighan left all in awe, scoring three goals in succession to lift Arlington over Monroe-Woodbury, 5-2, at Middletown High School.
As they have four times this postseason, the Admirals charged back to erase an early deficit and marched on. Now, the pressing matter at hand is making travel arrangements.
They’re headed to Cortland.
The Admirals (19-3), seeking their first state championship, face Clarence of Section 6 in a state semifinal on Saturday, 12:30 p.m. at Tompkins Cortland CC.
“That ride is going to be crazy,” defender Claire Kirkhus said. “We’re gonna be so loud with the usual cheers.”
Among them is “Bread Toast,” the Admirals’ adopted catchphrase. It began earlier this season when one of the parents attached a piece of burnt bread to a cardboard poster, Allie Coon explained. The suggestion was that Arlington would soon make toast of its opponent.
Grab the butter. The Admirals have singed a whole loaf.
Michaela Fasolino and Kirkhus each added a goal and Becky Gold made eight saves as Arlington dealt Monroe-Woodbury its first defeat this season, and avenged a 2-0 loss in September.
Feighan tallied the go-ahead with a minute left in the first half, capping an intense back-and-forth sequence. On a fast break, the forward drilled a header from 10 yards, giving the Admirals a 3-2 lead.
Teammates lauded Feighan’s performance and said it’s something they’ve grown accustomed to.
But, the junior said, “I’m just glad we scored the five (goals). I don’t care who gets it, as long as we win.”
Just a minute earlier, Monroe-Woodbury had tied it. Off a corner kick, 6-foot-2 Willow Duffell leaped from a crowd and headed the ball in. Duffell is a star power forward who recently committed to play basketball for Marist College.
Five minutes before that, Feighan had given Arlington a 2-1 lead. The forward drifted toward the end line to track a through ball then, from the right wing, hooked a liner into the upper left corner.
“We’re never worried,” senior Molly Sobolewski said of the comebacks. “No matter what, we go hard and we’re not giving up until we come out on top.”
Arlington’s defense denied the Crusaders several chances. Kirkhus slid for a block tackle to prevent what would have been a close-range shot 8:21 before half. Sobolewski and Anneliese Tucci each forced multiple turnovers to halt runs.
Feighan made it 4-2, launching it into the left corner from 6 yards on a breakaway with 26:55 left. Then Kirkhus tacked on 10 minutes later.
Although Arlington created chances early, forcing Monroe-Woodbury to make seven saves in the first 20 minutes, it was the Crusaders (17-1-1) who struck first on Hannah Geller’s goal in the eighth minute. Fasolino tied it for the Admirals three minutes later, collecting a deflection after a diving save and sending it into the right corner.
Those comebacks, coach Kieran McIlvenny said, are characteristic of his team’s composure and “passion.”
“This is a huge accomplishment for us, but it’s not just about getting (to Cortland),” Feighan said. “Now let’s go win states.”
Two slices of bread remain.
Stephen Haynes: firstname.lastname@example.org, 845-437-4826, Twitter: @StephenHaynes4
On the web
Visit http://www.poughkeepsejournal.com for expanded coverage of Saturday’s state Class AA girls soccer regional final game, including video interviews and photos.