Xaverian 1, Christ the King 0
“Conditions were brutal out there,” said Xaverian Coach Erin Meagher as her first-place Clippers (5-0-1) hosted the second-place Christ the King Royals (3-1-2) at the Aviator Sports Complex for the GCSHAA Varity Tier 1 Brooklyn-Queens Championship.
Facing a familiar divisional foe for the third time, the 2019 Brooklyn-Queens Championship Clippers had previously beaten and tied the Royals during the regular season.
With a tornado watch just canceled for the area, constant gusts of wind continued to sweep across the field, sending balls out of bounds. In addition to deciding their wind strategy, the Clippers were shorthanded to begin the game, with two players sidelined with injuries and seven players on quarantine due to the possibility of secondary COVID contact. With only two substitutes, Meagher put together a makeshift lineup with half of the team playing out of position.
Meagher and goalkeeper Maggie Albunio decided to give the Royals the wind advantage to start the game, in order to have the wind at their back in the second half. Despite the advantage, all of the Royals’ scoring attempts were thwarted by Albunio in a scoreless first half.
At the 10-minute mark in the second half, the Clippers got the winning goal from an unlikely source. After the Royals cleared a corner kick from in front of their goal, the ball was forced out of bounds, giving the Clippers a throw-in. Seeing Chelsea Monderson open in the middle, Jenna Como fed her perfectly and the first-year varsity sophomore scored her only goal of the season to win the game.
“You want to be out there practicing to be one of the last two teams on the field,” Meagher told her team before the game. Given all the adjustments necessary to win, the fourth-year varsity coach said this year’s players met and exceeded the challenge to win another championship.
This soccer season will finish as a collegiate pathway for two of the Clippers. Albunio has committed to NYU and Como will decide between offers from CSI and Eastern University. Last year, Giana Romero went on to play for Rutgers, while Taylor Bryan went to Virginia Tech.