Olivia Becker didn’t panic amongst the chaos in the box with the game’s final seconds ticking away.
Midfielder Sophia Fikke sent a corner kick into the box and the charging Poly Prep keeper didn’t catch it cleanly. It fell to the grass and right to the foot of Becker. The forward preceded to score the winner to the lower left corner with eight seconds remaining in regulation to give visiting Horace Mann a thrilling 2-1 victory over Poly Prep in Ivy League girls’ soccer last Wednesday in Bay Ridge.
“I just made sure to stay calm,” Becker said. “We had very little time life so I just thought of it as we had more time and stayed very calm. I knew we needed that goal.”
Both Becker’s teammates and coach saw her as a prime candidate fighter we way through the crowd and score such a clutch goal.
He is a very tough kid,” Horace Mann coach Tim Sullivan said. “That’s her biggest strength, her toughness.”
The score would not have been possible without Becker and Maya Scholnick quickly counter attacking after a ball was cleared out of the box on the other end. The sequence of events capped a gutsy effort by a team that was outshot by Poly Prep (8Â¬–6–0, 4Â¬–6–0) in the second half and playing without star forward Sydney Watson, who was sick.
“I felt like we were going to pull it out,” Fikke said. “I just had that feeling. This team as a lot of grit.”
It was Horace Mann (10Â¬–1–1, 8–1Â¬–1), which struck first in the game, thanks to a penalty kick by Fikke midway through the first half. Poly Prep got even shortly after when on a goal by Maeve Regan to send the game to the half tied at 1-1.
Poly Prep spend much of the second half peppering Horace Mann keeper Jane Frankel, who also made a number of touch saves. She stepped in front of header and later a shot from 8 yards. She also stopped a 20-yard blast in the final minutes. Erin Bussey and Ashley Codner turn in other solid performance on defense.
“Jane is a great, great player,” Fikke said. “She definitely comes up big.”
The victory keeps Horace Mann at the top of the Ivy League and in contention for a top seed in the upcoming NYSAISAA tournament. Becker touted the team’s versatility and depth of talent as keys to their success, but know sit can’t let up now.
“We know we have to step it up and take it to another level,” Becker said. “We are the team to beat now.”