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Long week ends with T-Birds using their heads.

Posted Saturday, September 26, 2009 by Coach Cavanagh
      After a very intense and competitive Non-League schedule the T-Birds were all set to begin their defense of their League II title. Three games were on the agenda two of those games featured 2 of the top ranked teams in the county. Connetquot was well aware that a slow start to the season could be very damaging and tough to overcome. So while the schedule was daunting the T-Birds were set to fly.

    The home opener brought arch rival Northport to town. The T-Birds have only one win against Northport in the past ten years, but that win came last year and the girls were as ready as ever to add to that total. With the crowd buzzing and music blasting the T-Birds took the field. From the first whistle you could tell that Connetquot was going to control the action. The girls controlled the ball for over thirty minutes and had a 1-0 lead at halftime. The second half began as the first half ended with Connetquot dominating the ball. Two goals midway through the half extended the lead to 3-0. The final horn blew and the girls had their first win and second against Northport in as many years.

     As fate would have it Connetquot was then matched up to play their neighborhood rival Sachem North. The girls are very familiar with many of their players and for whatever the reason the North girls play like world beaters when they see the red of Connetquot. Last year North almost stole a win from us on our home field as Connetquot needed two late goals to pull out the victory. Unfortunately this time their would be no such heroics. North started the game out very fast and it almost looked as though they were playing with 14 girls instead of 11. North lead 2-0 going into the second half, which I know will be referenced by me all year. The second half the T-Birds played their best half of soccer of the season as they held possession of the ball for over 32 minutes and were able to put he ball behind the North keeper as Jo Jo Murino took a ball off the face and into the net. However, the scoreboard would not change again as the T-Birds rattled the net 17 times. The girls suffered their first loss of the season and as we were walking off the field we were greeted by a Sachem North parent who let us know "You're not number 1 no more!" And while at the time it was tough to hear, we couldn't ignore the fact that it was true. The girls needed to stop worrying about ranking and start focusing on the opponent on the field. We will be ready the next time North comes to the "Bird Cage!!" (Thanks Nora)

     Our final game of the week featured a brand new rival, West Islip. Anyone reading this should easily remember them celebrating on our field as they knocked us out of the playoffs last year. So the girls came in reeling after the tough loss to North and stepped right into the fire. West Islip came out hard and strong and pressured our girls at every turn. They knocked us down and controlled the action for much of the first half. The Lions were able to put one past our keeper a little more than halfway through the first half and again the T-Birds were faced with a second half deficit. However this time Connetquot used powerful minutes from role players Catie Murray and Ashley Kupres to off set West Islip's physical advantage. Both girls knocked a few Islip girls down (clean) and change the flow of the game. Even with their efforts Connetquot saw the clock tick down to under a minute where the cool and collected Deanna Murino set up for a direct kick just to the side of the side of the 18. A kick that was granted due to the hustle of Michelle Murino. Deanna sent the ball in square and it connected with Jo Jo Murino's head and Jo deposited the ball to the far corner to tie the score at 1 with just 38 seconds remaining. After a fast and furious overtime that saw both teams play physical and tough soccer, the game remained tied.

     So while the first week ends with a 1-1-1 record, I feel the girls went through all the emotions a full season can bring on. We learned a lot about ourselves as well as what teams are trying to do to us. They want to pressure us and body us all the way down the field. They don't want our girls to have any time and they are trying to physically intimidate us. WE WILL NOT BE INTIMIDATED AND WE WIL NOT BACK DOWN FROM THE CHALLENGE!!!  I want to thank all of our fans and parents who have created a great atmosphere for our games. A special thanks goes out to the Boys Varsity for making the "BIRD CAGE" a fierce place to play!!!


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