With her team mired in a three-game losing streak heading into last week’s action, Oceanside girls’ soccer coach Marianna Winchester said she was eager to see how the Lady Sailors would respond against similar opponents in search of consistency.
“I wanted to get at least a point out of both games,” she said of back-to-back contests at home against Kennedy and at MacArthur. “I wanted to capitalize against teams that have been up and down just like us,” she added. “If we were going to make a push for a good playoff seed, we had to get rolling.”
Despite starting slow in the first half of both games, Oceanside picked up the pace and has its first winning streak of 2012. Senior goalkeeper Emily Doherty made 11 saves in a 2-0 victory over Kennedy, and six saves in a 1-0 win at MacArthur as the Lady Sailors (4-6-1 in Conference AA-I) picked up a crucial six points in the standings.
“We’re sitting comfortably with 13 points,” Winchester said. “With the exception of Farmingdale and Massapequa, the rest of us are in the same boat. If we can finish with the fourth or fifth seed, I’ll be happy.”
For whatever reason, Winchester said, Oceanside has been prone to sluggish starts and strong finishes. That was the case in both games last week. Freshman Julia Duffy scored the lone goal at MacArthur on Oct. 11 with 2:40 remaining off a pass from senior Katie Ryan. “Katie put a beautiful through ball right at Julia’s feet,” Winchester said. “Julia made a nice move to beat the defender and didn’t panic when she was one-on-one with the keeper. She took her time and finished.”
Winchester said her focus during halftime was to get the midfielders to play more aggressively. “We were playing too much defense in the midfield,” she said. “We needed to get hungry for the ball and do a better job of anticipating. I thought we dominated the first 10-12 minutes of the second half, and we eventually broke through.”