Natalie Gonzalez traps the ball

Blue Devil Girls’ Soccer Starts Winning

Natalie Gonzalez traps the ball for Huntington. (Mike Connell photo.)

September 25, 2017

Katie Seccafico captured lighting in a bottle when the senior lofted a last second shot from 40 yards and put the ball in the net to give the Huntington varsity girls’ soccer team a badly needed 1-0 victory at Smithtown East.

If the Blue Devils intend to reach the post-season they have to start winning just about every time they step on the field. Seccafico made sure that happened on the turf in St. James when the talented senior used every bit of her strength to lift the ball out of reach of Smithtown East goalie Kat Sheppard.

Ainsley Lumpe
Ainsley Lumpe is Huntington's
sensational freshman goalie. (Mike Connell photo.)

A hundred thoughts were going through Seccafico’s head when she launched the game winning shot. “I was so shocked that it went in,” she said. “I’m just happy we beat them because we were really working hard the whole game.”

Huntington’s defense played its finest game of the fall with Amber Stieve starring at sweeper and Grace Connell, Niamh Condon and Christina Aureliano shutting down Smithtown East’s three powerful forwards. Blue Devil freshman goalie Ainsley Lumpe picked up the shutout, recording nine saves.

With the two teams seemingly bound for overtime after playing 79:59 of regulation, Seccafico surprised players, coaches and fans by launching a rocket off her right foot. The ball landed in the net with one second remaining. The teenager’s teammates went wild, mobbing her on the field as Smithtown East players looked on in disbelief.

Blue Devil coaches John Walsh and Vinny Tannazzo loved the turn of events. “The team never gave up on ourselves,” said Nicole Abbondandelo, one of Huntington’s key players. “We worked hard until literally the last second of the game to pull out a well-deserved win.”

The Blue Devils enjoyed a very happy bus ride back home to Huntington. “We were two equally matched teams, however we came out with an extremely determined mindset, which led us to our win,” said senior Catie Ricciardelli, who plays center midfield and forward. “The whole team played very hard and we didn’t let down. Katie Seccafico pulled through at the end with an astonishing buzzer beater. The next three weeks we are going to train very hard so we can have a spot in playoffs like we deserve. Our record doesn’t do us justice so we have to prove ourselves and I am confident we will.”

Huntington has six league games remaining. The Blue Devils will be taking on Half Hollow Hills East, Newfield, Smithtown West, Centereach, Copiague and a rematch with Smithtown East between Wednesday, September 27 and Monday, October 16.

“It’s only up from here,” Stieve said. “We played with the teams in the beginning, but couldn’t execute. Now we have the execution part down and the pieces are falling into place.”

Huntington has compiled a 2-0-1 mark over its last three games. The Blue Devils bested Copiague, 4-0. Seccafico had two goals and Abbondandelo had a goal and three assists. Jordan Forte also scored and Emma Greenhill added an assist. Lumpe made three saves.

The set of sensational performances began when Huntington battled Centereach to a 1-1 tie. Greenhill scored the lone goal off a Seccafico assist for the Blue Devils.

Can Huntington qualify for the playoffs? Well, the recent string of strong games after a rather rocky start has Huntington’s confidence soaring, especially after Seccafico’s heroics at Smithtown East.

“The first couple of games gave us the opportunity to work on the things that hurt us while playing,” Greenhill said. “Now that we’ve had more games and practices to correct everything, we’ve grown as a team to become a strong force. Today’s win was amazing with Katie scoring with one second left from midfield! Hopefully this win will help us make the playoffs.”

Emma Greenhill
Emma Greenhill considers her options. (Mike Connell photo.)
Grace Connell
Grace Connell is one of Huntington's top players. (Mike Connell photo.)
Huntington head coach John Walsh
Longtime Huntington head coach John Walsh. (Mike Connell photo.)