Kearney erases bad memories with semifinal win over CK

Shannon Fahy admitted that she and her team were having flashbacks to a year ago.

Bishop Kearney had to wait two days because of darkness to complete an eventual overtime loss to Notre Dame in the semifinals last season. Here they were again heading into extra time with a shot at the final on the line. The feeling wasn’t, here we go again – but this time will be different.

“There was no option,” Fahy said. “We were winning.”

The junior midfielder ensured that was the case. A Shannon Rom corner kick was batted around in the box and found its way to Fahy just outside on the right. She buried a right-footed shot to the near post in the 97th minute to give the Tigers a thrilling 4-3 win over Christ the King in the CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens girls soccer semifinals in the rain at Juniper Valley Park last Thursday, Nov. 5.

“Amazing,” Fahy said of her second goal. “I don’t think there is a word to describe it. It’s what we have been working for all season. I think we deserved to get this far.”

Kearney (10-4-0) appeared to have a chance to win the game in regulation on the strength of a Christ the King own goal in the 60th minute. Allison Kozak’s cross was deflected in off a defender. Four minutes later, Ashley Raaf tallied her second goal of the goal to the lower left corner off a through ball from Catherine Pitelli to tie the score at 3 for CK (9-2-1), the Manhattan/Queens division champion.

In the first of two 10-minute overtimes Tigers sweeper Danielle Farragher ran down Luna Siracusa on a potential breakaway in the 86th minute. Siracusa was in for Raaf, who missed the first overtime with an ankle injury.

“We have had experiences before were we were robbed of going to the championship,” Farragher, a senior, said.

The Tigers, which lost the regular season meeting 3-1, could have been left for dead early on. Goalie Diana Shcherbenko was called for a penalty for using her hand outside the box and Fabiana Rebecca deposited the ensuing free kick in the upper 90 in the 11th minute. Raaf scored on a strike across the box to the lower left corner a minute later to make it 2-0. Rebecca had a breakaway in the 28th minute but shot the ball right at Shcherbenko.

“That would have sealed the deal right there,” CK coach John Fayad said. “We practice that play 1,000 times. Always kick to the far post.”

The missed opportunities gave Kearney a chance to get back in it. Darian Raccuglia poked a ball that was surrounded by three Royals defenders into the lower left corner in the 33rd minute to cut the deficit to 2-1 at that half. With two CK center defenders out with injury Fahay had a deflection drop to her feet 40 yard out. She dribbled past the defense and score to the bottom right corner in the 45th minute.

“We have been struggling to score, but today I spoke with them and said, ‘This is it or nothing,” Kearney coach Charlie Candela said.

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