Another bitter cold day played host to the League Final between the League Champions, Bronx Ale and the Runners Up, Beal Bocht. The playing conditions were tough with a frozen surface creating difficulty for players staying on their feet. Bronx Ale missed an opportunity to go up minutes into the game when Lisa Dechance beat Liz Lops but her shot trickled off the post and over the baseline for a goal kick. Beal Bocht’s Sarah McBride sailed a ball over the head of Ale keeper Jeannie Heinsohn, hitting the crossbar and bouncing into the goal, giving them 1-0 lead in the first half.
Beal Bocht played defensively throughout the game but Bronx Ale kept on the hunt for the equalizer. Bronx Ale mindfielders Dechance, Corie Witkiewicz and Jackie Jones did well to hold possession and persistence paid off when an own goal leveled the score. After two scoreless five minute overtimes, the game was still a 1-1 draw and went to the dreaded penalty kicks. Beal Bocht bested League Champions to capture the League Final with 4-3 in penals.
Parlour FC and Tigers took to the field for the 2014 Shield Final. While the sun brought some relief from the cold temperatures, the field was more like an ice skating rink for the initial part of the first half, upending players on both squads. The game would prove to be a tale of two halves.
The majority of PFC’s lineup was notably from the more “mature” side of their roster. Jane Kenney coached the squad after being sidelined with an injury a few weeks earlier. As the first half progressed, PFC started to get a good rhythm going and began to put some serious offensive pressure on the ball. Their hard work was rewarded when Liz Eles blasted a corner kick that magnificently curved into the goal thanks to both its power and the wind. Eles and Dinsiri Fikru worked tirelessly in the middle of the field, winning possession and distributing the ball artfully. Tigers’ keeper made some great saves but also injured her knee during one of the many scrums in front of the net. Thankfully she was able to continue. With just a few moments to the halftime whistle, Eles took a shot from distance that found the back of the net. The half ended with PFC up 2-0.
Tigers showed no let up in the second half. They seemed determined to do some damage of their own. And midway through the half they did just that and got themselves on the board with a nice goal by Kara Coughlin. Tigers nearly tied things up with a blast that keeper Susan Kistler skillfully saved. Still, they kept coming but Kistler, sweeper, Lucille Charles, outside defenders Maggie Bradley and Karen Lindsay as well as the never quitting Eles and Fikru held strong and made some great stops and plays. PFC was happy to have Joan Madden back on the pitch. However, even with Madden’s deft ball skills, she and the rest of the offense, Miss Gregory, Robin Grunder, Genevieve Aidala, and Erin Mendez were unable to convert some really close chances. When the final whistle sounded, PFC blew a collective sigh of relief and metaphorically raised the 2014 Shield.
Best for PFC: Susan Kistler, Liz Eles and Dinsiri Fikru.
Harps faced the league leaders Bronx Ale in a long awaited and twice rained out match-up. Harps took charge with the numbers and wind advantage and dominated the first half. The return of Samantha Kee to Harps’ squad was a welcome one and she made an immediate impact producing attacking combinations and penetrating through balls past Bronx Ale’s defense. But it was off a set piece that Kee placed the ball just inside the far post from an expertly placed corner kick to beat keeper Jeannie Heinsohn.
Despite still being short of a full squad, Bronx Ale came out strong in the second half and made several threatening runs forcing some dramatics by Harps’ defense and Keeper Megan Hare to keep them off the board. Kee added to the tally with a shot just outside the box. Bronx Ale was relentless and were rewarded when April Wisniewski sent a corner in to Jackie Jones who skillfully turned and slotted it past the keeper to halve their deficit. Bronx Ale’s Elyse Hanley struck a rocket of a free kick sending towards goal but Hare got in the way making her the team hero with a valiant save in the final minute of the game to preserve the win for Harps.
Best for Harps: Samantha Kee, Megan Hare
Best for Bronx Ale: Elyse Hanley, Lauren Barton, Mary McEvoy, Beth Higgins
It was a beautiful fall day for soccer and despite the lopsided score it was a high energy and well contested match. Tigers played a strong first half, with excellent defending by Diane Sit, Alex Griggs, Linda Villarosa, Kara Coughlin, and Martha Mills protecting the center. Tigers frustrated Bronx Ale’s attempts to get open for shooting opportunities. However, Bronx Ale was able to score in the last minute of the first half by a shot from Lisa Dechance near the goal line.
In the second half, the Tigers found more offensive opportunities and goalkeeper Jen Trowbridge made some spectacular saves against repeated Bronx Ale attacks. But Bronx Ale was able to capitalize on corner kicks and two more goals were added by Cori Witkiewicz and Tina Cressent to end the game 4-0 in Bronx Ale’s favor.
An Beal Bocht beat Parlour 7-0 with goals by:
Sarah McBride – 3 goals in first half
Aine O’dwyer – 2 goals, one in each half
Chanelle Ranglin – 2 goals, one in each half
NYC United started with 7 to McKeon’s full side and put up a good fight despite the scoreline. McKeon’s was led by Meave Redmond with 4 goals including a first half hat trick. Melissa Ryerson also notched a hat trick with a goal in the first half and two in the second along added by Kelly O’Neil’s one goal gave McKeon’s a convincing 8-0 win. NYC United finished the game with 10 it just wasn’t enough to put a dent in McKeon’s healthy lead.
Another sunny and generous fall day played host to the Harps v Phoenix face-off. Both teams started off short of the 11 but Harps had a slight edge on numbers and came out attacking. Constant pressure on the Phoenix defense by Harps’ striker Joelle Gozlan resulted in a clumsy clearance by the keeper Jules Krause to draw a free kick just outside the 18. Aoife West stepped up for a expertly placed free that was shepherded into the net by Maria Martinez. Multiple attempts on goal came from threatening combinations between Harps newcomer Melissa Belardi and Amy Jackson as well as a rocket shot by Erin Cullen which was brilliantly guided over the bar by Krause. The half ended 1-0 to Harps.
Harps continued to be aggressive in the second half and Cullen not only demonstrated excellent defense but also initiated Harps’ attacks from the back line and positioning her for another chance at goal after settling a rebounded ball and ripping it past the keeper to give Harps a 2-0 lead. Phoenix had several counterattacks but Harps defense shut them down without consequence. One final effort by Harps was initiated when Teresa Brink headed a ball forward to the foot of Belardi who took the keeper on and slotted home the third and final goal of the match.
Best for Harps: Melissa Belardi and Erin Cullen
Beal Bocht had a convincing win over NYC United with a 9-2 tally. Goals by Beal Bocht were provided by Renata Ciampi-1 (BB), Stephanie Bush-1 (BB), Angela Russo-2 (BB), Sarah McBride-2 (BB) and Chanelle Ranglin-3 (BB). NYC United’s goals were not reported.
Bronx Ale faced off with McKeon’s. Sue Hannon put Bronx Ale on the board and assisted Tina Cressent’s goal before suffering a terrible facial injury. McKeon’s demonstrated outstanding sportsmanship by offering to play a man down and were very attentive to Hannon while Beth and other players attended to her. Despite the fairly serious injury, Bronx Ale captured the 3 points with a 2-0 win.
Harps faced a short sided Parlour FC squad on a lovely sunny morning after a two week break. With the numbers in their favor, Harps dominated possession and strung together some lovely attacking passing and solid midfield play by Jessica Bacon. Aoife West sent in a lovely ball from a corner which found the head of Joelle Gozlan for a clinical finish putting Harps ahead. PFC was able to hold off any more scoring with strong play from keeper, Susan Kistler and sweeper Jodi Andrews and were eventually at full strength. PFC’s Pearl Odu wreaked havoc beating several players, but Harps’ defense remained impenetrable ending the half in the lead.
The second half produced a more even attacking Harps and PFC. Odu drew a foul about 20 yards out and stepped up to place a spectacular free kick just under the crossbar and out of the reach of keeper Megan Hare for the equalizer. Newcomer Beth Hemminger displayed some clever runs and crosses from the flank to pressure PFC, but Harps were unable to finish. Harps made one final attacking effort in front of PFC’s net for the winner with a second dramatic diving header by Gozlan which just went wide. Both teams each walked away with a well deserved point.
Best for Harps: Jessica Bacon, Beth Hemminger
Best for PFC: Susan Kistler