Again playing some catch-up.
It has been an interesting week in field hockey, notably for Putnam teams.
Mahopac played an incredible first half against Lakeland before the best team in the region showed how it has won all those state titles.
Final: 4-1 Hornets.
Then Mahopac cruised past Somers 7-1 Thursday before just edging the Tuskers 1-0 Friday in the delayed championship game of the Tuskers’ mini-tournament.
Looks—or, in this case, scores—can be deceiving, though. Somers was in that game only because of its goalie.
What a show! Twenty-six saves. Yes, 26.
Claire Johnson is some keeper. She stopped 18 the previous day, some with full-extension dives.
It’s nice to have a goalie who isn’t afraid of a little dirt. Nice to have a goalie who plays her angles right 99 percent of the time. And wonderful to have a goalie who, basically, can keep you in all games, even when the field appears slanted downhill at her. Johnson deserves every accolade she receives…
There aren’t a lot of accolades in Putnam Valley these days.
There’s only a big story with multiple blanks and question marks.
One big question mark concerns whether one or two coaches have resigned.
The in-a-nutshell version is that the first-year head coach (the district’s former modified coach) was ordered to resign or quit.
Her assistant, who late Friday cited personal and work reasons, has resigned.
The coaches’ departure triggered a team walk-out Thursday. The squad, holding hands, left the field before its game against Arlington, intending to forfeit.
The athletic director, Marty Nemecek, intervened. He not only told the team it might forfeit the rest of its season but if it forfeited to Arlington each girl might be banned from playing all sports for the school for the remainder of the school year.
The kids returned to the field, then lost.
A video appears at the heart of the controversy, although some call it just the last straw.
Where the video is and, for that matter, where it ever was, are questions.
Coach Kelli van de Veerdonk, just 24 and once a member of Put Valley’s state champion field hockey team, acknowledges shooting it.
By all accounts, it was a 10-second video (a text video, she says) of her kids having fun in the mud. One person says the kids were playing tag. Nothing outrageous. Nothing crude. Nothing lewd.
But someone is alleged to have posted it online—at least briefly.
And therein lies the problem.
In an age of kid-athletes posting incredibly inappropriate things on Twitter, Facebook and more, this was an instance where someone (and the who is still in dispute) supposedly (and that’s still in dispute) posted a very short video of kids having fun at a rainy-day practice.
The issue appears to be that it was posted without parental permission.
But since these were all high school athletes, it can be guessed that the district obtained permission before the season started for public publication of photos and videos. How else would TJN and other news sources cover its teams?
That said, a coach posting things on social media—if that did occur—could raise a red flag.
The problem is it isn’t clear that Putnam Valley has a policy regarding things like this. Acting Superintendent of Schools Dr. Fran Wills refused to comment about that Friday.
If the district does not have one then how could the coach’s posting be a fireable offense?
If it doesn’t have one, though, it shouldn’t be a complete surprise because social media is, after all, relatively new.
But its use has exploded.
And it shouldn’t be surprising if a coach (and the If has to be stressed in this instance because the coach here denies it) shares something she or he considers fun and inoffensive.
The fact that this involves a young coach also shouldn’t be surprising. To some, young may mean bold, irresponsible and unthinking. But it can also mean unaware and unjaded—someone who doesn’t understand that caution is the keyword in schools (for better and for worse) and that good intentions can sometimes come back to bite you.
This is the video side of this issue. There may be multiple other factors that the school district is unwilling to discuss and, under the cloak of “personnel”, will never have to discuss in public.
Right now, PV isn’t even confirming the coach’s widely-rumored resignation, indicating the public will have to wait until the agenda is released for this Thursday’s Board of Ed meeting to see whether the matter is listed.
That peculiar approach leaves the varsity field hockey team, which has three games before Thursday, in limbo. Will their coach continue to fight for her job? Should the kids and parents who want her retained start a petition and show up at Thursday’s meeting and lobby for her or is it too late? Is she already gone?
And is the new coach, Melissa Philips, the permanent coach, at least for this season, or is she the maybe-permanent coach?
Many questions. Not a lot of answers. Just a lot of blanks and frustration…
Well, on to the recap of what occurred on the field the last couple of days…
Sept. 20 games
Riverdale Country 2, Holy Child 1, OT
Jolie Brakey had the Holy Child score.
Mahopac 1, Somers 0
In the aforementioned game, Allee Jackson scored for the Indians in the second half and, as noted, Claire Johnson had 26 saves for the Tuskers.
Nanuet 2, Suffern 2
Call it a coming-of-age game for Nanuet, which scored twice in the second half to tie the defending Section 1 champs.
Kiera Young had both goals for the Golden Knights.
Sydney Rondina and Sydney Hiller scored Suffern’s goals in the first half.
Ossining 5, Clarkstown North 0
Alyson Winter scored two goals and had an assist, Cyan Scarduzio (one assist), Carmilla Hagerman and Alexis Bernardo each tallied a goal and Kayla Less had two assists.
Rebecca Fliegal had nine saves for Clarkstown North.
Pearl River 2, North Rockland 1
Maggie Davin and Kayla Moreau netted the Pirates’ goals.
Sam Walker scored and Lianne Schroba had nine saves for the Red Raiders.
Riverdale Country 2, Holy Child 1, OT
Jolie Brakey had the Holy Child score.
Rye 3, Nyack 0
Alex Bennett and Fusine Govaert each scored and assisted on the other’s goal and Emily Antonozzi had the other Garnets’ score.
Sept. 19 games
Croton 1, Ossining 1
Both goals were scored in the second half as Emily Grossman scored for Croton and Allison Winter for Ossining.
Edgemont 2, Kennedy 0
Katie Adina had both Panthers’ goals.
Fox Lane 4, Pleasantville 0
Alana Fitz scored twice and assisted on another goal and Liz Golden and Nicole Johnson also scored and Paige Beyer had two assists.
Alex Ciarcia had eight saves for Pleasantville.
John Jay-Cross River 3, Ketcham 2
Jacqueline Cardi scored all three John Jay goals.
Lakeland 4, Carmel 0
Emily Power scored twice and Dana Bozek (one assist) and Sarah Bard once for the Hornets.
Maggie O’Shaughnessy had 10 saves for the Rams.
Mahopac 7, Somers 1
A game briefly mentioned above saw Mahopac dominate start to finish.
The rabbit-speedy Sarah Quarto, who had three first-half goals, noted her favorite was her second as she went up the right sideline and sidestepped three Tuskers before beating Claire Johnson from in tight.
The Mahopac win followed their 4-1 loss to Lakeland, which was noteworthy because the game was knotted at one at the half.
“We just came back and wanted to play 10 times harder,” said the junior Quarto, a three-year varsity player. “We got so motivated. We wanted to score a ton of goals.”
Johnson had 18 saves for the Tuskers but couldn’t stop everything as defenseman Megan Korovich (off her own interception), Allison Jackson (one assist), Francesca Ferreira and Mikaela DiBello also scored for the Indians.
Julia Corbett scored the Tuskers’ goal late in the second half.
Pelham 2, North Rockland 1
Chandler Solimine and Courtney Ryan scored and Mary Kilfeather made 12 saves for the Pelicans.
Jennifer Fox scored North Rockland’s goal.
Game slate Monday, Sept. 23
Byram Hills at Valhalla, 4;15 p.m.
Croton-Harmon at Briarcliff, 4:15 p.m.
Horace Greeley at Fox Lane, 4:15 p.m.
Mamaroneck at Scarsdale, 4:15 p.m.
Ossining at Harrison, 4:15 p.m.
Rye Neck at Pleasantville, 4:15 p.m.
Arlington at Somers, 4:30 p.m.
Brewster at Bronxville, 4:30 p.m.
Hendrick Hudson at Sleepy Hollow, 4:30 p.m.
John Jay-Cross River at Mahopac, 4:30 p.m.
Lakeland at R.C. Ketcham, 4:30 p.m.
Pearl River at Irvington, 4:30 p.m.
Putnam Valley at John Jay-East Fishkill, 4:30 pm.
Yorktown at Carmel, 4:30 p.m.