As the Spackenkill girls soccer team celebrated its big win over Rhinebeck High School, the players were greeted by fans, former teammates and friends who rushed the field.
Among them was Lily Wallace, a former member of the team, who gave up soccer to focus on art. She draws portraits and recently created one depicting her best friend, Spartans star Caitlin Speranza, in action.
“It was perfect!” Speranza said of the drawing. “She gave it to me as a gift and I’ve got it framed.”
Maybe Wallace would consider another, capturing a picture-perfect moment on Thursday.
Speranza took a feed from Kaitlyn Kilpert on a free kick, slid toward the right post and headed the ball into the corner, capping the scoring with 26 minutes left and giving Spackenkill a 3-1 victory over visiting Rhinebeck.
Both powerhouses entered undefeated in a rematch of last season’s Section 9 Class B final. Back then, the teams locked in a scoreless stalemate until Maria Barefoot’s overtime goal delivered the Spartans a fifth consecutive title.
The result was similar this time. But it didn’t take that long.
Kilpert had two assists, Alyssa Barahona and Madison Cutler added goals, and Maddie McCall made eight saves for Spackenkill (12-0). The Spartans dominated possession during some stretches and capitalized on adroit passing. As significant, perhaps, they affirmed their standing in the section.
“This is a huge win for us and it boosts our confidence,” Cutler said.
Barahona’s goal gave Spackenkill a 2-1 lead 6:14 before intermission. The defender received a pass inside and, from 5 yards, tapped it into the right corner. Cutler’s goal tied it at 1 two minutes earlier.
Stephanie Cassens, rebounding a deflection off the goalie, put Rhinebeck on the board in the 13th minute. The Hawks (11-1) created scoring chances, but were denied often. Spackenkill’s defense used on-ball pressure to contain Rhinebeck’s scoring dynamo Michelle Giamportone.
“It’s a game we looked forward to and really prepared for,” Speranza said. “To be this cohesive and execute that well, it’s awesome.”
A work of art, even.
Stephen Haynes: firstname.lastname@example.org, 845-437-4826, Twitter: @StephenHaynes4