Before her high school girls soccer team took on Babylon, coach Meaghan Macarthur realized Bishop McGann-Mercy would be in for a challenging Tuesday afternoon.
The Panthers are the class of Suffolk County League VII and are the favorites to retain their Class B county title later this month.
Compounding the Monarchs’ task was the fact that three starters, including two captains, were sidelined by injuries.
So, it should not be surprising that Babylon won and remained unbeaten this season with a 6-0 home victory.
“Despite missing key players, they played really hard,” Macarthur said. “It’s tough when you’re playing 80 minutes of soccer with one sub. A lot of those girls out on the field are inexperienced.”
“I think we played hard,” she added. “Despite the score, I think we learned from this game. I think it did open our eyes, ‘Oh, when we have people missing, we have to step up.’ ”
The Monarchs (2-9, 2-9) played without captains Olivia Kneski (sick) and Abby Coniglio (possible broken foot) and Caryn Nabrizny (shin contusion).
The Panthers (11-0, 11-0) have been unstoppable this season. They have outscored their opposition, 58-6, while recording seven shutouts.
“Babylon’s always good — they’ve got great touches on the ball,” Macarthur said. “They play super, awesome together as a team.
“They have a great program. They know how to play together. They know what it takes to win games.”
The Monarchs held off Babylon for as long as they could before Olivia Maldonando converted Sophie Ryan’s left-wing cross past goalkeeper Olivia Maxwell with 18 minutes and 4 seconds remaining in the first half for her team-high 12th goal of the season.
Val Velez doubled the hosts’ lead by slotting home a rebound for her 11th goal with 14:28 to go.
With only 52 seconds in the half, Sam Giovinazzo headed a Velez feed into the net for a three-goal advantage at the interval.
Babylon struck for its three final goals within a 9:30 span to pull away. First, Leah Gregory slipped a shot into the lower left corner with 11:45 remaining for a 4-0 margin before Tegan Castellucio headed in a rebound off the cross with 4:51 to go. Sarah Quigley closed out the scoring with her 10th goal with 2:15 left.