By Erin Maher
The Pleasantville High School girls’ soccer team made history on Sunday defeating Section 3’s Central Valley Academy, 3-2, in the final seconds to win the Class B state championship and give the team its first state title.
The Panthers (20-1-2) dominated on their way to the marquee match, not yielding a single goal since the playoffs began and shutting out four consecutive opponents.
However, in Sunday’s game, played at SUNY Cortland, the team followed a different script. The Panthers fell behind Central Valley 2-0 until midway through the second half, when Panther Izzy Kapoor, assisted by Allison Portera, put Pleasantville on the board.
With three minutes remaining, Pleasantville tied the game at 2-2 on the first of two goals by junior forward Katie Moses.
Then with four seconds left on the clock, Moses scored the game winner, securing the title for the Panthers.
“It was unreal,” said Moses. “We worked together as a team and we pulled through and we never gave up. It’s amazing we made history today.”
The team had strong community support on game day. For those who couldn’t make the drive up to Cortland, a viewing party was held in the high school auditorium, organized by Pleasantville FC.
Parents, teachers and community members filled the auditorium, and sat anxiously, watching a live stream of the match. Younger players from the Pleasantville Youth Soccer Club filled the first few rows, many waving green and white rally towels.
When Moses scored with the clock winding down, the auditorium erupted in cheers and claps.
John Vamossy, co-president of the Pleasantville Youth Soccer Club, has been a part of the organization for eight years and organized the viewing party.
“I’ve coached a lot of the girls on the team, they are an incredibly talented, amazing group of girls,” Vamossy said. “Cortland is three-and-a-half hours away, so it’s tough to get everyone up and everyone visiting, but we wanted to have a great community support and to show that we care about them.”
Late Sunday night, the team returned to Pleasantville to a hero’s welcome. Squad cars from the Pleasantville Police Department and fire engines from the village’s volunteer fire department escorted the bus carrying the state champions back into town. They pulled up to the high school while Queen’s “We Will Rock You” played as community members welcomed the team home.
After plenty of cheers and hugs, the team filed into the gymnasium, where Coach Chris Osterhoudt recognized each player by name.
Pleasantville High School Principal Joseph Palumbo addressed the new champions on their return home.
“Take the lessons that you learned throughout the season for your next few years, apply them to all the other things you do in your life,” he said.
And, before the festivities were over, Palumbo awarded the girls one last victory before Monday morning.
“There will be late passes in the office for all of you tomorrow morning,” Palumbo said.
In their march to the championship, the Panthers dethroned perennial Section 1 champion Bronxville and then ousted the defending state champs, Chenango Forks. The team also defeated Section 9’s James I. O’Neill, 4-0, in the regional final and on Saturday beat Section 5 champ Greece Olympia, also by a 4-0 margin.