Pearl River girls soccer Head Coach Tim Peabody kept encouraging his players to generate take more shots in Monday's Section 1 Class A quarterfinal game at home against Eastchester.
Senior forward Casey Walsh got the message, scoring two unassisted goals goals a minute apart on long-distance shots to give the Pirates all the offense they would need in a 2-0 victory.
"I realized in the beginning, I wasn't shooting a lot. I was nervous. We all were," Walsh said. "In the second half, I had to let myself know it's not the end of the world if we don't win. We can beat them. I composed myself and realized I had to shoot. I did and it went in the back of the net."
No. 2 seed Pearl River (15-1-2) advanced to the semifinals to face No. 11 Rye 2:30 p.m. Tuesday at Pearl River. The with Walsh scoring a goal and assisting on another. Players and coaches on both sides said that Rye came out flat for the Columbus Day contest, which was a late-morning start.
"They were a little flat. They might have come in thinking we weren't very good," Peabody said. "I think we caught them a little bit. I expect a much better team to show up tomorrow."
Eastchester Head Coach Frank Fiori thought his team had a shot to be the one facing Rye after playing Pearl River even for a half, though the Pirates did start to get more chances as they neared halftime, including a shot by Walsh that bounced off the top of the goal.
"Whoever was on the board first would have the momentum," Fiori said. "In the first half, we played them toe-to-toe. We knew in the first 10 minutes of the second half, they would come out with a punch. We had to fend them off."
Walsh made sure that didn't happen with an unassisted goal on a shot from over 30 yards out with just over 33 minutes remaining. Peabody said it was important that she shoot quickly due to the double teams she draws.
"She's going to get double-teamed every time she touches the ball," Peabody said. "I told her we have to get back to the quick release. Turn and shoot wherever you are on the field. We have the wind. It's not a big wind, but if you put it in the air, it's going to go. She did that. She's been great this year at making that adjustment."
Walsh made the score 2-0 just a minute later, stealing the ball in the Eastchester end and drilling a shot to the right of the goalie.
"She has just been great all year," Peabody said. "Last game it was three assists and they were stunning. Today, she got the look and hit it."
"The first goal was a great shot. You can't do anything about that," Fiori said.
"We put our heads down for a second and they countered again quickly."
With Pearl River coming off a nine-day layoff and facing Rye Tuesday, Peabody chose to rest many of his starters as much as possible in the second half. Eastchester (11-6-1) generated some chances against the reserves, but the Pearl River defense cleared most of them and freshman goalie Lauren Gallagher took care of the rest, making six saves.
Editor's Note: This report has been updated with details, comments.