On Monday evening, April 19, the Monroe-Woodbury Varsity Girls Soccer team traveled to Montgomery to face the Valley Central Vikings for the OCIAA Section 9 AA title.
The two teams had battled to a 2-2 tie when they met earlier in the season.
The Vikings took the lead just four and half minutes into the game on a free kick.
The Crusaders responded by controlling the ball and keeping it in the Vikings defensive zone.
But even with the increased offensive push, the Crusaders just could not get a good shot on net.
Finally, with 8:50 left in the half, the Crusaders broke through. Crusader defender Abigail McCleary cleared the ball out of the defensive zone to Olivia Shippee.
Shippee took the ball down the near sideline and put a perfect cross to a sliding Kayla Harvey.
With a defender on her back and a goalie sliding at her, Harvey was able to get a foot on the ball and send it into the net to tie the score.
Second half - a little high, a little wide
The second half of the game turned into a real defensive struggle. Crusader goalie Chloe Kennel came up several big saves to keep the Vikings off the board.
The Crusader offense just couldn’t seem klick, sending a couple of shots just a little high or just a little wide.
With 2:13 left in the game the Vikings broke the tie when one of their players got behind the Monroe-Woodbury defense to get to a loose ball and fired it past a diving Kensell to give the Vikings a 2-1 victory.
What it means now and for next season
The loss marks the end of the Crusaders’ unprecedented run of seven consecutive Section 9 soccer championships.
It also marks the first time time the team has lost a game since September 2019 when they lost to Massapequa.
The Crusaders will lose 13 players to graduation this year but look to come back strong next year with a strong core of veteran players and a group of talented underclassmen that will move up to fill up the roster.