ONEONTA — Milford eighth-grader Grace Brennan found the right time for her first varsity goal.
Her coach, Chris Saggese, picked the perfect time to put her in, too.
Brennan scored seconds after checking into Saturday’s Tri-Valley League championship game at the Wright National Soccer Campus, leading Milford to a 1-0 victory over Morris.
“It was a dream come true — my first varsity goal,” said the 13-year-old Brennan, who found the net on a pass from Emilie Mertz with 2 minutes, 2 seconds left. “Emilie gave me a pretty pass and I just shot it. It’s amazing.”
Brennan subbed in for senior Kaley Chase on a corner-kick opportunity 10 seconds before the decisive goal. Morris nearly cleared Hannah Saggese’s corner kick, but Mertz ended up with the ball and dribbled back to the right corner. Mertz then crossed to an unmarked Brennan on the right side of the Mustangs’ goal.
“I got the ball at my feet, took a dribble and spotted Grace,” Mertz said. “I got it to her, she was one-on-one with the goalie, and she placed it in the perfect spot in the net.
“I couldn’t be any more proud of her,” Mertz continued. “Grace has been working with us since she was little. We breed soccer players. She has done a great job.”
Morris coach Rhoda Flint said her defense broke down on the play.
“She wasn’t marked up,” Flint said of Brennan. “It was just a defensive breakdown. It’s too bad because I thought we played them well defensively all game.”
Chris Saggese said putting Brennan on the field at that particular time was far from a stroke of genius on his part. He said the banged-up Chase, who missed much of the first half after one collision and was involved in another later in the game, simply needed a breather.