Annie Coogan wasn’t actually sure she’d scored.
It took a few moments, but as soon as the Calhoun senior saw the ball cross the goal-line, she couldn’t celebrate loud enough. Coogan’s shot, a slow-roller in the first half, wasn’t her most picturesque play, but it was enough to lift the Colts to a 1-0 victory over Massapequa on Thursday night.
“When it went past the line, I went crazy,” Coogan said. “We’ve been going through trying to beat Massapequa for years and years and it’s been getting closer and closer. I can’t believe it finally happened.”
Calhoun came into the tilt, a rematch of last year’s Nassau 'AA' championship, with revenge on its collective mind and the Colts looked to control tempo from the opening whistle.
Massapequa, ranked No. 1 on Long Island by News 12 Varsity, notched the first good look of the game, but the Chiefs were, mostly held in check throughout the opening 40 minutes.
Calhoun (2-0) worked to every loose ball, forcing Massapequa to play the game at midfield and setting the four-time reigning Long Island champs back on their heels.
“We just talked about effort,” said Calhoun coach James Raucci. “We talked more about how hard we wanted to play, the effort in between plays and just leaving no doubt that we played the hardest we could.”
The Colts, ranked No. 7 on Long Island by News 12 Varsity, notched a handful of good looks early on, but it wasn’t until Kerry Pearson set up Coogan just in front of the net in the 17th minute that Calhoun was able to break the stalemate. Coogan didn’t have the best angle on her shot, but the goal was more than enough to jumpstart Calhoun and give the squad a bit of breathing room heading into the break.
“This year we’re trying something different,” Coogan said. “We’re more pushing up and stacking and trying to wait for numbers so we can possess. We want to kind of work it in, instead of last year. It’s been working really well.”
Massapequa, of course, did not go down without a fight and the Chiefs (1-1) came into the second half looking to grab back a bit of momentum. That proved easier said than done, however, as Calhoun keeper Julia Miguel played general between the pipes, directing a back line that refused to give an inch down the stretch.
“It’s honestly just making sure that nobody on their team is open,” Miguel said. “There can be no possibilities of their offensive line getting through to us. I need to make sure everybody hears me and they know where they have to be.”
Calhoun continued to push the ball in the waning minutes of regulation, as Pearson and Sarah Tappeto both notched shots on goal, but Massapequa keeper Haylee Poltorak held strong. The senior finished with four saves.
The victory is an early-season statement for the Colts who were left with a bad taste in their mouths after their championship dreams were cut short last fall. Now, Calhoun is hoping to build on the win, determined to prove this is a squad to contend with.
“Every team in this conference is really good,” Raucci said. “Massapequa is one of the best teams out there, but we have to take one game at a time. We have to play every game like anybody can win every day.”