THEILLS – It has been an eventful week for eighth-grader Kelly Brady.
Needing extra depth due to season ending injuries to several players, including key forward Naya Rivera, third-seeded North Rockland called up Brady and three other players from the JV squad ahead for the Section 1 playoffs.
Brady has done nothing but produce for the Red Raiders.
The young forward had a hat-trick in her debut in the team’s first-round game against Mahopac on Saturday, and against sixth-seeded Arlington on Tuesday in the Class AA quarterfinals, she assisted on the game’s opening goal to Amber Alfonzo to help the team to a 2-0 win.
“I’m pretty excited to be playing with such great players, it’s very exciting,” she said. “I would just like to thank my teammates for giving me this chance with all of the wonderful passes.”
Before Brady’s call-up, North Rockland lost to Arlington 3-0 on the final day of the regular season.
“We knew it was going to be a tough match, and we knew we were going to have to play at a hundred percent to beat them,” North Rockland senior captain Taylor Aylmer, who had North Rockland’s other goal, said. “(Kelly) helps us out so much with her speed outside, which is what Naya gave us.”
Both teams had relatively even possession, but Arlington struggled to create high-quality scoring chances.
“We had a lot of the possession, but we didn’t put the ball in the net,” Arlington head coach Kieren McIlvenny said. “It was tough for us because we played so well; we didn’t finish.”
North Rockland will host 10th-seeded New Rochelle on Thursday in the Class AA semifinals. New Rochelle upset second-seeded Scarsdale 2-1 to advance.
Player of the game: Amber Alfonzo, North Rockland. The senior forward once again was the team’s main creator on offense, opening the scoring with a perfectly-placed shot into the top-right corner on a breakaway in the 36th minute and showed great vision in setting up her teammates for scoring chances.
Turning point: Midway though the second half, Arlington managed to dominate possession and hemmed North Rockland in its defensive end. In the 69th minute, Aylmer blasted a shot with her weaker left foot from long range that eluded Arlington goalkeeper Becky Gold to give the Red Raiders an important insurance goal.
Stat line: For North Rockland, Alfonzo and Aylmer both had goals, Kelly and Hannah Beckerle had an assist each and Nicole Solicito made 10 saves for the clean sheet.
Quotable: “I think our spirits came up once when got into sectionals, and Jenna MacMillan and Kelly Brady stepped up; they’ve been playing so strong and have helped us a lot,” Aylmer said. “We just need to keep working as hard as we can, and the goals will come.”