THEILLS – In a physical game between two teams that figure to make some noise in the postseason, North Rockland’s Naya Rivera had the final say.
The senior had fallen down when the ball came to her in the 73rd minute, and she spun while on the ground and scored the winning goal from point-blank range in the Red Raiders’ 2-1 win over Yorktown Tuesday at North Rockland High School.
North Rockland took the lead early on a goal by Sophie Morello. Yorktown’s star player, Alyssa Francese, answered right back with a finish off a corner kick.
After Francese’s goal North Rockland began to dominate possession and control the game.
The Red Raiders’ defense was impressive in the second half.
“We didn’t let their key playmakers get in a rhythm in the second half,” North Rockland coach Peter McGovern said. “ We made sure that they didn’t get any uncontested looks in the second half, like they did in the first.”
McGovern was certainly prepared for the star power that the Huskers bring to the field.
“We had a plan going into the game. We knew that they run a lot of their play through 16 (Ivana Pjetri) and 7 (Alyssa Francese),” McGovern said.
Despite the tough loss, Yorktown remained upbeat with an eye toward the future.
“I’m really proud of the way my kids played today,” Yorktown coach Rich Armstrong said. “We came on the road to play a really tough team, and we played well. Our defense was especially good today. Who knows, we might see these guys in the playoffs.”
The Red Raiders are also thinking about the postseason.
“We’re 5-3 now; there are a lot of good teams this year. It’s going to be a really competitive in the playoffs this year,” McGovern said.
Player of the game: Not only did Naya Rivera score the game-winning goal, she was also crucial to her team in the middle of the field. Her long throw-ins completely changed the game.
Turning point: Rivera’s goal off a corner kick that bounced off a few bodies before coming to the North Rockland star, who scored the winner while still on the ground.
Stat line: Sophie Morello and Naya Rivera scored for North Rockland. Alyssa Francese scored for Yorktown. Rockland goalkeeper Jenna Braunagel made 10 saves. Yorktown’s Caroline Nachman made 22 saves.
Quotable: “Caroline is a true goalkeeper,” Armstrong said. “She’s been on varsity for three years, and she really gave us life today.”