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Great Run Ends

Rarely has Despina Psomopoulos left the soccer field this spring with any regrets. Bayside’s uber-talented sophomore scored 23 goals during an undefeated regular season and seven more in the playoffs, including two in Bayside’s PSAL ‘A’ semifinal win over Stuyvesant. However, in the final minute of the first half, with the Commodores trailing McKee/Staten Island Tech by a goal, she was unable to finish a run down the center of the field.
“I was really upset with myself for missing that,” Psomopoulos said of her chip that Seagulls goalie Amanda Donovan punched wide. “Since I was going full speed, I kind of messed up.”
As it turned out, the failed strike was symbolic, just one of many missed chances. Michelle Giraldo’s clear shot went wide in the 48th minute and Chelsea Cabarcas’ free kick that bounced off the crossbar from 25 yards out in the 58th minute were two other examples. It was an afternoon full of missed opportunities for second-seeded Bayside, who dropped the PSAL ‘A’ final to No. 1 McKee/Staten Island Tech, 2-0, at St. John’s University Sunday afternoon.
“We had a hard time converting opportunities,” Bayside Coach Joe Corrado said.
“It just wasn’t meant to be,” senior Alex Knese said.
From the start, the previously undefeated Commodores realized this would be their sternest test to date. McKee/Staten Island Tech controlled play early, and struck first when Melissa Ramhold scored off a corner kick in the 10th minute, the first deficit Bayside faced all year. “They were out of their element a little bit,” Corrado said.
The Seagulls made sure of that. They used their star midfielder Genna Pepe to mark Psomopoulos. And without their star striker creating chances, the Commodores’ attack was out of sync. “I just tried to stay with her, follow her, and shut her down when she had the ball,” Pepe said.
Mission accomplished - again. For a second straight spring, Bayside’s soccer season went further than ever before, but just like last season, was ended by the same Staten Island powerhouse. “It’s heartbreaking to lose after all this work,” Psomopoulos said.
Even so, these last two years have been “unbelievable,” as Corrado described them. Now the challenge is to continue the progression, and gain that elusive title.
It will be no easy feat. Bayside (17-1-1) graduates seven seniors, notably Knese, Giraldo, Nicole Lee, and Luz Pulgarin, many of them in the back line. That group, which made the playoffs all four years, reached the semifinal round and final in successive seasons, and accumulated a league mark of 47-4-2 will leave a lasting legacy.
“You hope they pass on that tradition of what it took to get here,” Corrado said. “This program didn’t just get to this field. With blood, sweat and tears we got to this field.”

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