MIDDLETOWN North Rockland goalie Shannon Robinson isn’t the type to get nervous when a game comes down to penalty kicks.
Maybe that comes with the territory of starting on varsity for the past four seasons, but more likely it’s the fact Robinson realizes the odds are already stacked against her when it comes to penalty kicks.
“The pressure is more on the shooters (because they are supposed to score),” Robinson said. “I just cleared my mind, and I just did what I had to do.”
Robinson posted two saves, including the game-winning save, and two missed the net during the five rounds of penalty kicks to help the Red Raiders advance past Monroe-Woodbury 2-1 after playing to a scoreless draw in the Class AA regional final at Middletown High School Friday.
North Rockland, which will share the regional title with the Crusaders, won its first regional title since 2010 when the Red Raiders fell to Webster, 2-0, in the state semifinals.
North Rockland will play the winner of Section 5’s Webster Thomas and Section 6’s Clarence in the state semifinals Nov. 16 at 2:30 p.m. at SUNY Cortland.
“We want this so bad,” said North Rockland sophomore Amber Alfonzo, who, along with teammate Kitty Kerrigan, delivered on her penalty kick. “I don’t think we’ve ever wanted something more. We want to go all the way to states. We want to win states. We just want to do everything.”
North Rockland was in control for a majority of the game, outshooting the Crusaders 32-17 over the 80 minutes of regulation and 30 minutes of overtime.
Monroe-Woodbury still had its fair share of opportunities, including two chances in the final two minutes of regulation that forced Robinson (13 saves) to make key stops to send the game to overtime.
“(Robinson) stepped up big throughout the whole game today,” North Rockland coach Vinny Apicella said. “She’s worked real hard to even improve on her natural ability.”
The Crusaders and Red Raiders are no strangers to each other. North Rockland beat Monroe-Woodbury 1-0 on the road less than a month ago.
“I didn’t think it would go to overtime, but I knew it was going to be close,” Apicella said. “We knew we were in for a war.”
Apicella credited the girls for keeping their heads up despite not being able to finish their chances.
“They wanted it,” Apicella said. “They never quit. They played hard the whole time.”
The fact the Red Raiders showed they could advance via penalty kicks was also a bonus for Apicella. Last season, North Rockland fell to Arlington in the sectional final in penalty kicks.
“We put a lot of work in and a lot of practice specifically working on PKs,” Apicella said. “After last year, we didn’t want that to happen again.”
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