NEW ROCHELLE Soccer is game that sometimes, comes down to finishing
Ursuline’s Julianna Sullivan scored what turned out to be the winning goal late in the first half, and the Koalas held off a persistent New Rochelle offense just enough to snag a 2-1 league win at New Rochelle High School on Wednesday.
“We took a step down in the second half, the other team took it up notch,” Sullivan said. “The defense held up; it wasn’t the best, but all that matters is that we got the win.”
New Rochelle controlled most of the play to start, but it was Ursuline that got on board first, after Casey Friend’s throw-in was tipped in accidentally by New Rochelle goalkeeper Alexis Ostrager.
Ursuline continued to pressure and late in the first half, Sullivan took advantage of some confusion between New Rochelle defender Sydney Jasper and Ostrager and was able to steal the ball and finish to double the lead.
After some changes, which saw Jasper move up to forward, New Rochelle dominated possession in the second half, and scored with around 15 minutes left when Jasper finished off a shot from the right side. However, Ursuline’s defense, led by goalkeeper Jena Pelinkovic, managed to hold up and secure the win.
“We had the opportunities and unfortunately, we just couldn’t finish them,” New Rochelle coach Francesco Notaristefano said. “It’s not from a lack of effort; it’s just sometimes, it’s a game of inches.”
Player of the game: Jena Pelinkovic, Ursuline. When New Rochelle came out firing on all cylinders in the second half, the senior goalkeeper led the way in keeping the ball out of the net. She also made a point-blank save off of a New Rochelle corner in the first half.
Turning point: Shortly after Jasper’s goal, New Rochelle pressured, and managed to get three straight corners. On the second one, after the ball bounced around in the box, it fell to Sophie Wolf, but her point-blank chance was stopped by an out-stretched Pelinkovic. It was the last great chance New Rochelle got in the game.
Stat line: For Ursuline, Sullivan had a goal, Casey Friend and Jackie Huvane had assists and Pelinkovic made 12 saves in net. For New Rochelle, Sydney Jasper scored on an assist from Anna Livaccari, Ostrager made four saves and Mary Fay made one save.
Quotable: “We started off the season slow, we had one tough loss against Scarsdale, and since then, each game, we’ve gotten progressively better,” Sullivan said. “Our goal is to make the program as good as it can be and go as far as we can possibly go in sectionals.”