It is always special when Wantagh and Seaford play each other in sports but during Friday’s girls soccer first round playoff game between the neighborhood schools there was far more than just area bragging rights on the line.
Wantagh and Seaford, located less than two miles from each other, were battling on the synthetic turf of for a chance to extend their 2011 seasons. Thanks to two early goals and some stellar defensive play, the Wantagh Lady Warriors lived to play another day while putting an end to the Seaford Lady Vikings season, in a 3-0 victory.
The win advanced Wantagh (9-2-3) to the Nassau County Class A Quarterfinals against perennial power South Side this coming Tuesday.
Wantagh opened the scoring when Amanda Profera scored on a breakaway in the game’s second minute and sophomore Stefanie Wenz headed in a corner kick off an assist from Kaitlyn Kingston eight minutes for a 2-0 Warrior lead. Eighth grader Nikki Sliwak put the game out of reach with 10 minutes left in the second half when she fired in a shot past Seaford goalie Deanna Moore, who had done her best to keep the Vikings in the game with six saves.
“It was huge to get the early first goal to set the tone,” said Wantagh girls soccer first-year head coach James Polo.
Wantagh had defeated Seaford 2-0 on Oct. 3 but the Lady Warriors came into Friday’s playoff game expecting a battle against familiar players. “It’s a rivalry between the two schools no matter what sport it is,” said Coach Polo. “The kids grew up together playing in the youth leagues.”
Seaford (3-12-1) had a difficult season competing in a challenging Conference A-1 but was awarded a home playoff game because of its difficult schedule. Despite a disappointing season that included many season-ending injuries, Seaford head coach Suzanne Mooney had great fondness for her 2011 team that included 14 seniors and was sad to see the season come to a close.
“Everyone came to work everyday knowing how tough it was going to be,” said Mooney. “It was a special group.”
Wantagh will next head to Rockville Centre to take on a South Side program that last year had its string of 13 straight Nassau County titles ended by Garden City.
“They are a perennial power in the county and state,” said Polo. “We know we have a challenge ahead of us.”