Jill Mulholland is MacArthur's Mack truck.
That's what Ward Melville keeper Ally Ramos called her after the Suffolk and Nassau championship games Wednesday. She praised Mulholland for her ability to create space and get through defenders. Come Friday, that Mack truck will be on I-81 headed for the state tournament in Cortland.
The two teams, facing off days after each program won its first ever county title in girls soccer, were scoreless midway through the second half Saturday at Denton Avenue Park in New Hyde Park. That's when Mulholland took a cross from Christina Cottone, pulled up from 25 yards and sent a bullet inside the far post with 18:21 remaining to give MacArthur a 1-0 win over Ward Melville for its first Long Island championship.
"I knew a defender was on me, so I turned real quick and shot it with my left foot," Mulholland said.
There was some confusion surrounding the goal because it occurred while MacArthur had an injured player down on the field. But the ref awarded MacArthur the advantage and the goal stood.
MacArthur's starting defensive unit of Sam Sherman, Jenny Scro, Sam DiClemente and Meghan Dockweiler didn't allow Ward Melville a shot on goal against keeper Jena Cozza to record the team's 14th shutout of the season.
"We just stayed tight on our marks and made sure to push up as a team," senior defender Sherman said. "We all work as a unit and [Cozza] is so great, telling us when to go and who to mark. We just know where to go and what everybody is doing."
The Jordan Porretto-led Ward Melville defense helped keep the pressure off Ramos, who had six saves. MacArthur nearly struck early in the game when Mulholland angled a liner from the right wing that Ramos stopped before recovering the rebound.
The loss brought to an end the finest season in Ward Melville's 31-year history. The Patriots -- who, in addition to Ramos and Porretto, were led by fellow senior captains Lizzy Rullan, Adrianna Morra and Caysea Cohen -- finished 15-2-2 and went further than the team had ever gone before.
"Our defense is awesome and they don't get the credibility they deserve," MacArthur coach Lauren Gotta said. "Now we're at this point and they're going to get the credibility they deserve. They are just stellar. Second year working together and it just shows."
MacArthur (16-2) advances to a state semifinal to play Brockport at 2 p.m. Saturday at Cortland University.
"This is amazing," Mulholland said. "Best feeling of my life."