Photo by Steven Schnibbe
By Joseph Staszewski

Christ the King’s Sarah Nolan was in a deep goal-scoring slump as the regular season came to a close.

The sophomore forward was creating chance after chance, but was struggling to finish for various reasons and it bothered her. She was too reliant on using her right foot and often over-thought a shot before taking it. Nolan and Royals Coach John Fayad used the time created thanks to a bye into the diocesan final to make sure Nolan righted things before the playoffs.

“We worked on the left foot until she couldn’t shoot anymore,” Fayad said.

It appears she got it down.

Nolan used her left foot to score the only goal Christ the King needed for a 1-0 win over Mary Louis to earn the school’s third straight CHSAA Brooklyn-Queens Division I girls’ soccer title last Saturday at Aviator Sports Complex. The Royals, who topped TMLA for all three crowns, advance to the Catholic state semifinals Nov. 9 to face Rockville Center winner St. John the Baptist back at Aviator.

A defensive mistake by the Hilltoppers gave CK, also the regular season champion, the break it needed after a scoreless first half. Senior midfielder Francesca Giglio was able to control the ball and send a perfect pass to a running Nolan up the left side. Nolan took a few steps and softy touched the ball into the net to give CK a 1-0 lead in the 43rd minute.

“I was thinking, ‘I can’t believe we haven’t scored yet,’” she said. “When we finally got that goal I was like, ‘We are finally going to win this.’”

The Royals (7-1-2) may have won by a larger margin if not for the efforts of Mary Louis goalkeeper Claire Loredan. The senior made numerous diving saves in the second half to keep Christ the King from extending its advantage. She denied Nolan, Medina Mulic and Andrea Cardozo during the final 15 minutes.

“Last year she was doing the same things,” TMLA Coach Tom Bruen said. “She always gives them a chance.”

The coach would have liked to see his Hilltoppers team (7-4-2) be more aggressive earlier on offense. Star midfielder Therese Boyle ripped a 20-yard strike that went wide in the 67th minute and her shot across the box just missed the lower left corner in the 73rd minute.

“Urgency is sometimes hard to come by,” Bruen said.

Giglio said there is always an urgency to keep the Royals’ string of titles going after the program had never won prior to this run. She believes that feeling will remain even with she and senior Destiny Marino leaving after three crowns.

“I felt like every year we are like, ‘Now we can’t lose this one,’” Giglio said. “So I have a feeling next year they are going to be like, ‘They’re gone and we still can’t lose.’”

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