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Girls Soccer: Center Moriches has Tuckers’ number in county semifinal

Mattituck's Elvira Puluc tries to get a foot on the ball, only to be thwarted by Center Moriches goalkeeper Megan Ricci. (Credit: Daniel De Mato)

They say it’s not easy to beat a team three times in a high school girls soccer season, but the third time was a charm for Center Moriches, much to Mattituck’s chagrin. 

Center Moriches showed that its two regular-season wins over the Tuckers weren’t flukes (not that the final scores indicated that they were). With two goals from Paige Volkmann, the top-seeded Red Devils beat the Tuckers, 4-1, in a Suffolk County Class B Tournament semifinal on Thursday. They will next play No. 2 Babylon for the county title on Saturday in Coram.

Center Moriches (13-1-1), playing its final game of the year on its home field, rarely looked troubled as it went about its business, posting its fourth straight win.

Volkmann scored twice, on her fourth and fifth goals of the year, to spot her side a 3-0 lead by the time the game was 58 minutes 55 seconds old. The junior outside midfielder punched in her first goal, assisted by Catherine Nolan, at 10:09. She also scored her second goal in the penalty area after the ball was served in by Nolan.

Nolan scored herself to make it 2-0 when the ball popped out in her direction and she drove a long-range shot in at 27:23.

Mattituck’s goal came after Alex Beebe was fouled and a penalty kick was awarded with 11:48 left in the game. Catherine Hayes calmly slotted the ball into the left side, giving the Tuckers (7-8-1) a small ray of hope.

But even that was extinguished 6:35 later when Center Moriches tacked on an insurance goal. Ashleigh Dorsa supplied a ball that Casey Luongo tapped over goalkeeper Sarah Santacroce. It was her eighth shot of the game.

Center Moriches was unfortunate not to have added more to its goal tally. Santacroce stripped the ball off Luongo’s feet on a breakaway in the first half. Shortly after, Luongo pounced on a turnover and, with Santacroce at her mercy, struck a right-footed attempt that crashed off the base of the right goalpost. Luongo found the goalpost again in the second half. After she was denied by Santacroce, she sent the rebound off the goalpost.

Center Moriches held a 19-7 advantage in shots. The Tuckers found shots hard to come by and managed to put only two on goal, one being a blast by Jane DiGregorio that Megan Ricci did well to save.

Meanwhile, the three goalkeepers Mattituck used — Emma Fasolino, Santacroce and Johanna Pedone — were kept busy enough. They totaled 11 saves.

The Tuckers closed their season with their fourth consecutive loss.

Recent results didn’t bode well for the Tuckers. They lost twice to Center Moriches, 3-0 and 6-2, during the regular season. The 6-2 result was the last time both teams played, on Oct. 21.

Photo Caption: Mattituck’s Elvira Puluc tries to get a foot on the ball, only to be thwarted by Center Moriches goalkeeper Megan Ricci. (Credit: Daniel De Mato)

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