Sophomore soccer star Maura Bellone scored the sweetest goal of her career on Monday as she gave the St. Edmund Eagles a title victory over St. John’s Prep.
Bellone’s opportunity came when junior Eagle Anfisia Gordeev sent a corner kick careening off the box during a heated match at the Aviator Sports and Events Center.
The sophomore dashed to meet it and, with a well-timed kick, sent the ball sailing over charging St. John’s Prep keeper Ashley Rivera in what proved to be the game winning goal eight minutes into overtime — giving he Eagles a 1–0 victory in the finals over rival St. John’s Prep.
Bellone said she was ecstatic that her goal stood unopposed.
“I was thinking, ‘Nobody else better make a goal’ because I wanted to win this game for us and I did,” she said.
The victory avenges last year’s 3–1 loss in the title game to St. John’s, and completes an unbeaten season for St. Edmund (9–0–1). It’s also helping coach Dan Mangano realize the title guarantee he made after the Eagles beat St. John’s Prep in their final regular season match.
The winning coach is already planning on achieving the same results next year.
“We have a strong team coming back and we are going to guarantee another trip to the championship,” Mangano said.
For all his confidence, however, the coach felt his squad could have played better, were it not for Hurricane Sandy.
Practices had become difficult to organize in the past two weeks thanks to the storm, which devastated Gerritsen Beach and left five players with damaged homes, if not damaged spirits.
But all the hardship and destruction served only made the victory that much sweeter, players say.
“It’s amazing knowing how much all of us went through,” said Gordeev. “Some kids lost their houses — everything.”
Reach reporter Joseph Staszewski at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on twitter @cng_staszewski.