West Hempstead, which created the best scoring chance in the first half when junior Nina Boria blasted a shot off the post eight minutes in, was forced to play catch-up thereafter. “We gave them a pretty good scare, but we put ourselves in a tough situation for the last 39 minutes,” West Hempstead coach Mike Scaturro said. “We moved numbers up as the half went on and had a few chances. We were hoping to keep it within a goal and then throw the dogs at them in the last 10 minutes, but it didn’t work out that way.”
Working behind a defense led by Nicole Wahlig, Alyssa Pekunka, Madeline Anderson and Victoria Festa, Clarke freshman goalkeeper Hannah Zirkel made four saves. “Everyone in the back played very well,” Wachsberger said.
West Hempstead (9-3-3 overall), which topped Valley Stream South, 4-0, and Roslyn, 4-1, in its last two Conference A-III games to clinch a playoff berth, was led by seniors Courtney Sills and Nia Jones. Sills led the team with nine goals, and Jones chipped in four. “It was a great season,” Scaturro said. “We had a big turnaround, going from two wins [last year] to nine.”
Clarke (6-5-4 overall) advanced to meet No. 6 Division, which beat No. 11 Manhasset, 2-1 in overtime in the opening round, in the quarterfinals. The Conference A-I rivals split regular-season meetings, with both winning at home. “We’ve been a strong home team all year,” Wachsberger said. “That’s good because our next game is home, too.”