Pearl River senior goalkeeper Francesca Cobuzzi found herself out of the goal box in the final moments of the Saturday's Section 1 Class A playoff game against Tappan Zee at the Orangetown Mighty Midgets Complex in Orangeburg.
Then the Dutchies created a scoring chance by intercepting the Pirates' attempt to clear up the middle of the field.
Cobuzzi raced back to stop a shot that was headed in, keeping the ball out of the goal even as her body was in it, to preserve Pearl River's 1-0 victory over Tappan Zee.
"It was crossed and everyone was getting hit everywhere," Cobuzzi said. "I didn't know where it was going and I got out of the box. Then I saw her shooting, so I had to run in. I was in the goal, but the ball was out. I'm so happy I got to it,"
"You hope the kids realize the play is never over until it's over," Pearl River Coach Tim Peabody said. "She realized she was going to have to get back. We made a couple of mistakes and she covered it. It's kind of the save of the day. It's not a diving save, but the ball was going straight in."
It was one of two key saves late in the game for Cobuzzi, helping Pearl River to advance to the quarterfinals at home against the winner of a first-round game between Panas and Byram Hills at a date and time to be determined. The quarterfinals had been scheduled for Monday, but the Byram Hills/Panas game was suspended during the second half Saturday and will be completed Monday, forcing a schedule change for the next round.
The Pearl River/Tappan Zee game Saturday was moved to the OMM complex because Pearl River's lower field is still a mess from Thursday's rain. The Pearl River field hockey team used the upper field Saturday, defeating Panas in a first-round playoff game.
The weather was a factor again Saturday, this time with freezing rain turning to snow during the second half.
"The conditions are the kind of conditions where anything can happen and you have two teams that are pretty evenly-matched and competing," Peabody said. "You have to give them a lot of credit. They are coming off a game yesterday and playing as hard as they can. They created some opportunities, into the wind no less."
Cobuzzi said the snow was a surprise, but both teams had to deal with it. The forecast had called for the snow to start in the afternoon, one reason the game was moved up to start at 10:15 a.m.
Pearl River junior Casey Walsh scored the game's only goal early on, before the snow started falling. Pearl River had a chance to get some breathing room late, but Emily Aristizabal's shot bounced off the crossbar.
The defense and Cobuzzi Walsh's goal stand up. Before the save in the final moments of the contest, Cobuzzi also had to stop a penalty shot by Tappan Zee's Christine Smith late in the second half.
"It was a very good stop," Peabody said. "She didn't panic. She didn't get frustrated because I didn't think it was a particularly good call at all. She just held her ground."
"I was so relieved," Cobuzzi said. "We have been working so hard on penalty kicks. They are not my strong suit, so I was happy that I saved it.
"I'm glad that we shut out TZ first of all. They are our biggest rivals. We lost to them recently and I thought we were never going to play them again. When we heard we were going to play them in sections, I got so amped up. We knew we had to play as hard as we can with all our hearts."