In the 2009 playoffs, the Kennedy girls soccer team matched up against the same Hicksville team they met in the first round of this year's Class AA playoffs on Friday.
The first time around, the Lady Cougars fell in overtime to the Lady Comets to have their season cut short. On Friday, eighth-seeded Kennedy sought redemption against ninth-seeded Hicksville, pulling out a 1-0 win on a late goal by freshman Krista Trinidad at Kennedy High School.
"Coming into the game, we had the tough loss to this team last year in the playoffs," Kennedy head coach Janine Bizelia said. "In winning today, we felt the anticipation and excitement. I think we worked hard and won as many 50-50 balls as we could. We just were constantly pressuring them and not giving up any space."
The Cougars dominated possession for much of the first half, generating a lot of solid shots on goal, in particular missed shots in the box by Trinidad and senior Sam Rothery. Hicksville senior Lauren Miles nearly put in a go-ahead goal for the road team late in the first half.
Kennedy kept the pressure on in the second half, outshooting Hicksville 21-7 for the game. Then in the 64th minute, Trinidad found the ball in the box and slipped it just inside the right post to put the Cougars ahead.
"I thought we did really well and worked as a team the whole time," Trinidad said. "I liked playing up top with Morgan, she's always playing the great balls to me."
Senior Morgan Kitton was double-teamed by a tough Comet defense for the extent of the game, forcing her teammates to find the lanes and create much of the scoring chances.
"I gave it my everything so I just tried to put the balls through as best as I could," Kitton said. "For the next match, I think we need to step up our defense more and shift together when we have the ball."
Hicksville closed out their season finishing in second place in Conference II behind undefeated MacArthur. Senior goalkeeper Korey Abbriano kept the Comets in the game, collecting eight saves against the Cougars.
"They had a lot of opportunities and took advantage of the best one they had and we didn't. It's as simple as that," Hicksville head coach Rich Hinnerschietz said. "I'll give their defense credit. The few times we tried to come forward, they stepped up well."
Kennedy, which finished the regular season in third place in Conference III behind Mepham and Calhoun, will have a tough task in playing a top-seeded and undefeated Massapequa team in the quarterfinals. The Lady Chiefs have conceded just two goals in their 14 games this season.
"I am a big believer in keeping up what we are doing," Bizelia said. "Our team goal at the beginning was to make it to the playoffs and get to the next round. Massapequa will be tough. They are top in the county, so it'll be a challenge, but anything can happen on any given day."
Kennedy will take on that Massapequa team next Tuesday at 6 p.m. at John J. Burns Park.