The skies were clear – no wind, temperature in the mid-fifties and it was Senior Night for Grand Island girls soccer. You couldn’t have asked for a better night if you were Madisyn Pezzino, entering into Tuesday’s final regular season home game just three goals away from becoming the NYSPHSAA all-time leader in career goals.
Pezzino’s night got off to a slow start, but in the second half she scored three goals to become the state record holder in career goals; passing Molly Petrucci of City Honors, who set the mark last season. The icing on the cake for Pezzino, whose Vikings scored an 8-0 win over the Lockport Lions in their Niagara Frontier League game.
At the 34:08 mark of the second half the moment almost everyone was waiting for finally happened. Marcy Barberic found Pezzino who drilled home the 235th goal of her varsity career to set the new state-wide record. She would end the night with 237 goals.
“At the end the dog pile was the best feeling ever,” Pezzino said of the celebration her goal ignited within the team. “Having all my teammates totally tackle me. I know I couldn’t have done it without them.”
The Lockport Lions defense played strong for most of the first half holding off the Vikings strong attack.
Pezzino had some good chances to score early, especially at five minutes in when one of her first shots sailed just over the net.
“I was a little frustrated, but the encouragement from my teammates and my coaches made it happen in the second half” said Pezzino.
But finally at the 25:47 mark Pezzino put one in the net, bringing her one goal away from tying and two away from breaking the record.
Fellow senior captain Natalie Kaminski followed up with a goal a few minutes later.
Before the half ended Pezzino found her other fellow senior captain Marcy Barberic who scored off her own rebound to give the Vikings the 3-0 lead.
As soon as the second half began, Pezzino found her rhythm scoring the record tying goal just seconds in. Cassie Brooks scored the final goal of the game. Sam Bailey, Abby Blair and Maddy Webb each had an assist.
When Maddie Pezzino started playing varsity soccer six years ago she never thought she ever would be setting records. “Seventh grade I was trying to fit in and get playing time” said Pezzino. But the forward kept working and the stars aligned for one very special night. “It being my last year and it being senior night was icing on the cake,” Pezzino said.
Grand Island head coach Dave Bowman feels absolutely grateful that he was able to coach Pezzino, saying, “It’s not that often if that you get somebody as successful as she is.”
Not only is the senior captain a leader on the field, she’s even a better one off the field, “She’s literally the first person in the locker room putting air in soccer balls” said Bowman. “You can count on her to do something special on the field, but also count on her to grab people and drag them along with her.”
Pezzino’s soccer skills have not just been limited to Grand Island, the senior also plays for the WNY Flash U17 team and has committed to play soccer at Florida State University next year. “She’s truly earned this opportunity to go to Florida State,” said Bowman.
Going forward the Grand Island Vikings will finish up the regular season heading to Kenmore East on Friday, before heading into the playoffs next week as the likely top seed in Class A1.
Even though Maddie has the state scoring record, the senior loves to come up with assists and watching her teammates put it in the net. “She’s just as happy to pass it off to a teammate to see them score a goal as she is to put it in the net herself” said Bowman.
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