Written by Eric Holden Friday, 23 December 2011 00:00
If ever there was one, this was a victory to be savored.
The MacArthur Lady Generals (18-2) recently earned their first New York State title in school history with a 1-0 win over the Arlington Lady Admirals.
Senior forward Jill Mulholland, playing in her final match as a member of the Lady Generals, scored the lone goal of the contest in the 12th minute of the first half to seal the victory. Mulholland, who will be playing soccer for the Hofstra Pride next year, finished No. 5 in Nassau County this season with 27 points and No. 8 in goals (17).Twenty-four hours earlier, MacArthur edged Brockport, 2-1, in the Class AA New York State semifinal round to earn a spot in the title match. In that contest, junior goalkeeper Jena Cozza notched six saves for her 14th shutout win of the season. On offense, eighth-grader Arianna Montefusco scored a goal, and sophomore striker Katie Gerdes added one tally and an assist.
For the Lady Generals, a heartbreaking loss to Oceanside in last year’s playoff semifinal round was the primary motivation for their title run in 2011. “It’s so crazy how we lost last year and then came back to win it this year,” said Mulholland. “Especially my senior year, it’s just amazing.”
MacArthur head coach Lauren Gotta said all year that her team was “on a mission” this season after that loss, and to use that match as a valuable learning lesson for the future. “Clearly that [loss to Oceanside] was motivation for this year,” added MacArthur head coach Lauren Gotta, in an interview earlier in the season. “The fact that we didn’t lose anybody from last year’s team, they had a lot to prove this year.”
Just hours after the Lady Generals slipped past Arlington, over 250 students, parents and school administrators welcomed the team back home to Levittown.
According to several girls on the team, no one on the bus knew about the large crowd that was waiting for them at MacArthur High School until they were pulling into the school parking lot. “We thought a few of the senior boys would be there,” said Lady Generals senior Becca Turk. “We weren’t expecting any more than maybe 10 people to be there. Getting off the bus was the best feeling; words can’t even describe it.”
It was a true heroes’ welcome for the Lady Generals, as MacArthur principal Kathleen Valentino gave out flowers, students brought handmade signs, and Levittown fire trucks sounded their sirens as the charter bus containing the team pulled into the high school parking lot.