Kristin Desmond spent two years playing defense, all the while wishing she was on the attack. Now that she is, oh, how opposing coaches wish she still was on defense.
"It was very frustrating," the Northport soccer star said. "Sometimes I would try to dribble out of the back just to show what I could do up front."
This season Desmond got the chance to show exactly what she can do. She was unleashed as an attacking midfielder, and 21 goals and eight assists later, she has helped put Northport a win away from the Suffok Class AA championship game.
Desmond, who had two goals and two assists in Friday's 4-3 victory over East Islip, scored the tying goal and assisted on Sam Avallone's winning goal as No. 3 Northport came from behind to defeat No. 6 East Islip in a quarterfinal at Northport Soccer Park.
With East Islip leading 3-2, Desmond followed up a free kick by Emily Columbus from just inside midfield and knocked in the rebound to tie the score with 20:14 left.
Desmond later received a pass along the end line and touched it back to the front of the net, where Avallone fired inside the far post to give Northport a 4-3 lead with 7:22 remaining.
Avallone, a junior midfielder, played sparingly for a majority of the season but recently earned more playing time. Friday, she found herself on the field with the season on the line and capitalized.
"After you work so hard in practice every day, you just want to get into the game," she said. "When you finally go in and make a play like that, it's really rewarding."
Northport's Natasha Albaneze opened the scoring 11:05 into the game, firing a shot from the left wing off a pass down the sideline from Desmond.
Rachel Dempsey responded immediately for East Islip, scoring from in front of the net less than one minute later to tie it.
Columbus played a ball down the middle of the field to Desmond, who scored on a liner in traffic from the top of the box to give Northport a 2-1 lead with 13:47 left in the half.
East Islip's Kayla Saager scored the equalizer from the right wing 11:50 into the second half. She helped give East Islip the lead less than five minutes later, sending a corner kick that was knocked in by Dempsey for her second goal of the game and a 3-2 lead.
Northport advances to play at No. 2 Hauppauge in a semifinal at 1 p.m. Saturday. Having not played a game for 12 days, Northport now faces the possibility of playing three games in three days. But Desmond insists it's a tripleheader they desperately want to play.
"We have to," she said, "if we want to get to the state championship."