Torosian backs up pep talk with goal

Posted: November 09, 2007

Natalia Torosian gave a "this-is-our-house" speech before the biggest soccer game of Lenape's season, then she went out and scored the only goal of the game against Toms River North.

Yesterday's 1-0 victory gave second-seeded Lenape its second NJSIAA South Jersey Group 4 girls' soccer title since 2004. The Indians (20-2-1) are scheduled to play Hamilton East at 5 p.m. Tuesday at Neptune High School in the state semifinals.

East defeated Jackson Memorial, 1-0, yesterday for the Central Jersey Group 4 crown.

"That was the first time that I used that speech," said Torosian, a junior forward who has inspired her teammates with words and deeds all season long.

For the goal, Torosian ran wide to the right with a defender in pursuit, cut to the middle and launched an arcing shot that sailed over a group of players in front of the net as keeper Sarah Spanarkel scanned the crowd for the ball. The ball bounced into the net 1 minute, 52 seconds into the second half.

"I saw it in the air and was hoping that it would come down before the crossbar," Torosian said. "The win was awesome. The whole team deserved it, because we worked so hard together and we're all friends on and off the field."

Spanarkel had been instrumental in fourth-seeded North's 2-0 upset of top-seeded Washington Township Tuesday in the semifinals.

Torosian was the No. 1 concern of North coach Jerry Klimek, who had various players shadow the Indians forward throughout the game. A day before the match, Klimek was saying he had heard great things about the Lenape junior.

"She's every bit as good as people say she is," Klimek said as his demoralized team left the field. "She's creative and she sets the tone."

Spanarkel faced four shots in the first half, and Lenape keeper Sarah Zieman smothered one as both sides battled to a 0-0 deadlock before intermission.

Setting the pace for the Indians in both halves was senior midfielder Lindsey Walsh. Her nonstop style complemented Torosian's skill.

A grass stain on her right shoulder was emblematic of Walsh's hard-charging play, and her advice to underclassmen before the game apparently was heeded.

"Me and [Jen] Pfeiffer are the only seniors from the last championship team," Walsh said, explaining her pregame captain's speech. "We definitely wanted to let the younger players know that this was a big deal and you definitely want to bring it."

Contact staff writer Bill Iezzi at 856-779-3826 or biezzi@phillynews.com.

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