The Wantagh girls soccer team is in the midst of a historic season that got extended at least five days Friday afternoon thanks to some late game heroics.
Wantagh dominated most of Friday’s first round Nassau County Class A home playoff game against Jericho but was kept off the scoreboard in regulation before an overtime explosion. Jordyn Klapper scored two minutes into the first overtime and five minutes later assisted on an insurance goal tallied by Amanda Profera to propel eight-seeded Wantagh (12-1-1) to a 2-0 victory and an appearance in the Class A quarterfinals for the second straight season against perennial powerhouse South Side.
“They just kept on knocking,” said Wantagh head coach James Polo of how his team’s perseverance after missing repeated scoring chances in the game's first 80 minutes. “They work hard and they weren’t going to be denied the opportunity to play South Side.”
Wantagh’s successful 2012 season included the team’s first regular season conference title since 1999 and has achieved its wins through grit and playing as a team. Five of Wantagh’s 11 regular season wins came by a single goal.
“We’re very hard working and we don’t give up,” said Klapper of the team’s determination in 2012. “We’re all very close and everyone loves each other. We’re like a family.”
“From the first person to the last person we have to gel and I feel like we have done a great job at gelling all season long,” Coach Polo said.
In addition to displaying toughness and team chemistry, Polo has also been happy with the conditioning his players are in to play hard for an entire game.
“These girls are running four to five miles a day in a game so they have to be in great shape and they came into the season in great shape and have just gotten them in better shape as the season has gone along,” he said. “They want it and are going to do what it takes.”
Wantagh next faces a fierce challenge at South Side, who knocked Wantagh out of the playoffs last year with 3-0 win on its way to a 16th state title. Kickoff for Wednesday’s quarterfinal matchup is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. at Skelos Field in Rockville Centre.
“It’s going to be a tough game but I think we can pull it together if we work hard,” Klapper said.
“We’re going to try and keep their top players in check,” Polo said. “They are great players and a great program but any given day anybody can win and we’re going to get them ready for this.”