BRIARCLIFF MANOR Who knew basketball techniques could be applied to the soccer pitch.
Albertus Magnus right back Amanda Silvestri, who plays for the school’s varsity basketball team in the winter, used her defensive philosophies from the hardwood court to defend against Briarcliff’s star player Lexi Grasso. She kept her off the scoresheet and the Falcons’ came away with a 1-0 win on Thursday.
“I was trying to make her make a decision and then pounce on it,” Silvestri said of defending Grasso. “I was giving her more room to move so that I had options to tow it and get it out.”
Albertus Magnus came out of the gate strong, and in the third minute, took the lead on a goal from Victoria McNamara, who headed in a rebound off of a shot from Mazie Stiles that caromed off the crossbar.
“I thought it went in and stopped,” McNamara said of the goal. “Then I ran right to it.”
With the win, Albertus Magnus extended its winning streak to three games. For Briarcliff, a young team with only three seniors, the loss was the team’s first since losing to Pleasantville over a month ago.
“I think in the start, it was just that lapse in concentration at the very beginning,” Briarcliff head coach Owen Scully said. “That’s part of the learning curve for a young team. When you come up against a strong side, there is no room for lapses in concentration.”
Player of the game: Amanda Silvestri, Albertus Magnus. The senior defender often saw herself defending Briarcliff’s red-hot Grasso, sometimes in one-on-ones down the flank, and kept her largely in check for the whole game.
Turning point: Briarcliff came out of the second half strong, and in the 43rd minute, Grasso managed to pounce on a loose ball around the top of the box. Her shot was targeted for the lower right corner, but Albertus Magnus goalkeeper Kaitlyn Kreider made a diving save to preserve the lead.
Stat line: For Albertus Magnus, McNamara had a goal and Kreider made seven saves. For Briarcliff, Khassandra Muniz made eight saves.
Quotable: “I think we play strong every game, no matter how bad our passes are,” McNamara said. “We play up to our ability, and it’s always been like that. If one person makes a mistake, another person is there to pick them up.”