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Newdday article on Connetquot/Commack

Posted Saturday, October 18, 2008 by Newsday
BY CHRIS MASCARO | chris.mascaro@newsday.com
October 15, 2008
One team stood on the sideline for all 80 minutes in shorts, while the other sat huddled on the bench in sweats until the waning moments of the game. One team played with intensity, shoved back when pushed down, and withstood getting hit in the face with the ball and tackled at the shins. The other came out flat, and saw its coach with her arms folded in disbelief for most of the second half.

Want to guess which team won?

The Connetquot girls soccer team outplayed its previously undefeated League II foe Commack, 2-0, exacting revenge on its home turf after suffering its only loss of the season at Commack on Sept. 22.

Connetquot scored both of its goals in the first half off assists from Deanna Murino. Nicole Alix headed in a corner kick at 29:20, and Toni Diesel trickled one in at 36:04.
Connetquot goalie Stacey Rao, who made a season-high 16 saves for her first solo shutout of the season, noted that getting on the board first really deflated the Cougars.

"It looked like they came out flat, but it was really because we were playing so well," she said. "This is a different team. We had to match their intensity."

Not only did the Thunderbirds (7-1-1 in League II) match Commack's intensity, they far exceeded it. Even when Commack (8-1-1) tried to mount a late rally, it was easily stymied.

"I don't know what it is," Commack coach Tracie Morenberg said. "We made two huge mistakes that enabled them to get set plays, and good teams capitalize on those."

In addition to its intensity, Connetquot had a wise game plan. Realizing the Commack defense would be hounding leading scorer Danielle Murino, coach Ryan Cavanagh switched to a 4-3-3 formation, freeing up his role players on the wings.

"We were limited in our chances, but we capitalized on the few we had," Cavanagh said. "Finishing is the hardest thing to do in soccer."

But Alix was able to do it, as Deanna Murino's corner kick bounced off the goalkeeper into the air and she was able to head it into the top left corner.

"In the first game, Danielle was marked heavily," Alix said. "We knew we would have to get it done today."

And for the second straight year, Commack's unbeaten League II record fell at Connetquot.

"I can't place it, but every time we play here, it's either a tie or a loss," Morenberg said.

Cavanagh added that when Connetquot and Commack meet, it's always a physical matchup, and his team was able to answer the bell.

"We're a blue-collar team," he said. "We're built on players with heart."

Girls who were so into the game, the only time they sat down was when they piled up on the field after the final horn.

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