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Utes’ dream of glory fizzles out

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By Five Boro Sports

Katherine Salcedo knew what she had to do. The New Utrecht senior was hearing it from her coaches and her teammates, as well.

“Everybody was depending on me,” she said. “Even my defense was like, ‘Score a goal, score a goal.’”

And, like she has all season, Salcedo came through. She scored the equalizing goal in the 53rd minute against Flushing.

“It seemed like everything started at the beginning and it was a scoreless game again,” senior Suada Hasa said.

But the Red Devils would take another lead seven minutes later and the Utes wouldn’t tally again. No. 2 New Utrecht fell to No. 1 Flushing, 2-1, in the PSAL Class B girls’ soccer championship game last week at Randall’s Island. It was the 6-year-old program’s first trip to the title game.

Flushing freshman Melissa Lijo, perhaps the best player in Class B, scored the game’s first goal in the 13th minute, on the ground past goalkeeper Marlena Barnett. New Utrecht (13-1-2) didn’t get many chances before halftime.

“We were very flat-footed in the first half,” coach Carl Liguori said. “We were maybe intimidated by the moment a little bit.”

The Utes played much better after halftime, though. Besides Salcedo’s goal, they had a handful of other chances. One huge one came in the 75th minute when senior Salvatrice Oliveri was all alone, trying to chase down a ball just outside the Flushing 18-yard box. But goalkeeper Michelle Berbery beat her there and cleared it away.

If Oliveri got a clean touch, she could have tied the game. Flushing senior Ana Guallyasaca scored in the 60th minute to give the Red Devils the 2-1 lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

“When they scored another goal, it was downhill for us,” Salcedo said. “It was like everyone gave up.”

Despite the result, New Utrecht enjoyed its best season ever. In previous years, teamwork and chemistry was an issue. But the Utes player, most of them veterans, grew up together and everything clicked this year. Assistant coach Kristina Weisbrich started when the current seniors were freshmen. She called this trip to the finals “four years in the making.”

“I’m still happy we made it so far,” Hasa said. “But I’d be more happy if we won.”

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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