NYACK – Precision is what sets Caelyn Deserre apart. She has shown an ability to astutely process the situation and surroundings, determine the appropriate method, then execute with smooth mechanics in delivering an accurate shot.
Ehh, most times.
The Arlington freshman introduced herself to the masses last spring as a burgeoning golf star, but her attempt Sunday would’ve been equivalent to a sliced tee shot deflecting off a tree and fortuitously finding the green.
“I just hit it and hoped,” she admitted. “I got lucky.”
She got an ace.
Deserre scored with 17:55 remaining as the top-seeded girls soccer team eked out a 1-0 win over North Rockland in the Section 1 Class AAA final, giving the Admirals their seventh championship in eight seasons.
Never mind the shutout: Arlington wins first boys soccer Section 1 title since ’15
The girls matched Arlington’s boys soccer team this weekend, capturing section titles in the same autumn for the first time since 2012.
“This run shows the dedication to soccer our community has,” said Kayla Kalbaugh, an Iona College commit who made five saves in her 16th shutout. “We’ve graduated so many great players, and we’ve dealt with lots of injuries, and to still be consistent and keep coming out on top, it’s amazing.”
Arlington was without leading scorer Riley Pettigrew, who fractured a clavicle last month, and standout defender Erin Lemieux was lost to a knee injury last week. That’s become an unwelcomed tradition for this team in recent years, having to overcome a spate of injuries.
A little luck helped in this instance.
“Our program has developed a great reputation and people expect us to be here, but I don’t think they realize how difficult it is,” senior Ava Santarpia said. “When you win, you remember all that went into it and there’s a greater appreciation of the moment.”
What it means
Arlington (16-1-2) faces Section 4’s Elmira in a subregional Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. at Johnson City High School. The Admirals reached the state semifinals in 2021 but lost in the regional last fall.
They’ll face a few challenges this week, including a 180-mile trip and a late night upstate. “We’re just excited to be moving forward and we’ll enjoy spending the day together,” junior Sofia Espinosa said.
Second-seeded North Rockland lost to Arlington, 2-0, in September but this rematch was “the best we’ve played all year,” Raiders coach Phil Madonia said.
Arlington has allowed only five goals this season, and its defense again excelled, withstanding North Rockland’s early runs. Santarpia and Espinosa anchored a midfield that gained control late in the first half and created several scoring chances. Three missed shots and a defensive save helped keep it scoreless, though.
Kerry Finnerty had seven saves, including two difficult stops near the left post in a five-second sequence in the 35th minute for the Raiders (13-4-2).
Deserre broke through, getting a step on the defense and driving up the left flank, then firing toward the far corner. The keeper seemingly was in position but couldn’t corral the ball as it rolled in for an improbable goal.
“Not the prettiest goal,” coach Kelley Hand said, “but in a championship game, we’ll take it.”
They said it
“I’m so happy for her,” Santarpia said of Deserre. “She’s a little fireball. She’s feisty and works so hard, and she gave us a spark.”
“I’m on a high right now,” Hand said. “That was one of the most exciting games we’ve been in. North Rockland is a great team and they put our defense under pressure, but our girls were resilient again and found a way.”
“We possessed, we switched the point of attack, did everything but put the ball in the back of the net,” Madonia said. “But I’m so proud of what we did and the group we have. They exceeded expectations.”
“It means everything to us and I’m so thankful,” said Deserre, whose older sister Abigail once starred for Arlington. “I watched her win championships and it inspired me a lot.”
Stephen Haynes: firstname.lastname@example.org; 845-437-4826; Twitter: @StephenHaynes4
This article originally appeared on Poughkeepsie Journal: Girls soccer: Deserre, Arlington top North Rockland for section title