The field hockey season may be winding down but the excitement has ratcheted up.
Bronxville’s demise was unforeseen — well, maybe by everybody except those living in Pawling.
Forget that Bronxville is our local team and that Pawling — just over the border from Putnam — technically, is not.
This is a feel-good story for all those Tiger kids and for the entire Pawling school, which has been through way too much the past week or so.
Following its unexpectedly easy win over Rye Neck yesterday, North Salem, which last won the Section 1 Class C championship in 2002, was making the understandable leap of thinking about what it would have to do to pull off an upset over defending champion Bronxville.
Now it will recalculate.
Pawling is the wildcard, one driven now not just by talent but also by emotion.
No. 2 North Salem-No. 3 Pawling could be not just a good Class C championship game but a great one.
Class B is more predictable — at least in who is playing: No 2 Rye vs. No. 1 Lakeland.
Some think Lakeland isn’t quite as good as some past Hornet championship teams.
But this squad is loaded with talent and, despite a scare during its first meeting with John Jay-Cross River (1-0 Hornet in on goal in last four-plus minutes), is, after all, undefeated.
Rye has speed, stickwork, passing, the ability to score and defense.
Lakeland has speed, stickwork, passing, the ability to score and defense. And the defending state champion also has history on its side and one of the most successful coaches anywhere, in anything, in Sharon Sarsen.
Lakeland’s destruction of Pearl River yesterday might have been a signal to its detrators that it is everything it has been.
That will be clearer Tuesday when No. 1 faces No. 2 to decide who really is No. 1 this year.
I will be at today’s Class A semifinal game between No. 3 Arlington and No. 2 Scarsdale, where the top player to watch on Arlington’s side will be Nichole Tolli. Ursuline tried to have someone shadow her during the quarterfinal game between the two but Tolli broke free long enough to score the winning goal — one, by all accounts, worthy of a highlight reel.
Chris Iseman will cover No. 4 Mahopac at No 1 Mamaroneck, which has had a year to think about/stew over last year’s double-overtime loss to surprising Suffern.
Below, find my recap on the Pawling game and others, including Hackley’s and Rye Country Day’s semifinal indy wins (I will be at and will cover Sunday’s championship between the two), as well as my game story on North Salem’s win over Rye Neck.
Pawling upsets No. 1 Bronxville in shootout
Pawling traveled to defending Section 1 Class C champion Bronxville on Friday for a sectional semifinal game as not just a decided underdog, but an underdog with a heavy heart.
In the span of a week, two players lost grandparents, the coach lost a cousin, the athletic director lost a brother and the school lost a senior killed in a car crash.
But the No. 4-seeded Tigers temporarily put real-world sorrow behind them and celebrated on-field joy, pulling off the season’s biggest upset in defeating the Broncos in a shootout that followed a 2-2 tie after regulation and through two overtime periods.
In regulation, Lily Grass (off a corner) and Ellie Walsh (a breakaway) scored for Bronxville and Amber Cody and Izzy Grillo scored for Pawling — Grillo’s goal tying it with just 2:06 left.
Walsh put the Broncos (10-5-2) up in the shootout but Pawling (10-6-1) responded with three straight goals, with Lana Felice, Amber Cody and then her sister, Ashley, scoring.
“We really put up a good fight today,” Pawling coach June Lagan said. “The kids were pretty resilient. … They really rebounded.”
“Saying it was an incredibly tough way to end the season is an understatment but we left it all on the field today,” said Bronxville coach Cassie Sullivan, whose team finished 10-5-2.
Pawling will play second-seeded North Salem on Tuesday for the sectional championship.
Notes: Of her players’ reaction to all the turmoil they’ve faced, Lagan, who attended her cousin’s wake last night, said, “They’re great kids. They watch out for each other. … Sullivan, who also had sad post-game plans, heading off to a memorial service, appreciated Pawling’s play. “Pawling did a great job transitioning the ball down the field and capitalizing on scoring opportunities,” she said. Of her team, she added, “I couldn’t be more proud of my team’s heart and dedication this season.”
No problem this year as North Salem cruises past Rye Neck and into finals
NORTH SALEM – The hurdle has been cleared.
The North Salem field hockey team, whose playoff hopes ended the past two years in the sectional semifinals, blanked Rye Neck 4-0 Friday to earn a spot in Tuesday’s Class C finals vs. Bronxville.
Second-ranked North Salem put 15 shots on Panther goalkeeper Julia Gutterman, whose play was perhaps the only highlight for No. 3 Rye Neck, which ends the season at 10-7-1.
The Panthers didn’t get a shot on net and really mounted its only real offensive pressure in the closing minutes.
“We didn’t come out as the team we are,” coach Beth Gulotta said.
North Salem took a 1-0 lead with 11:53 left in the first half. After Gutterman made two saves and was down on the ground, sophomore Raquel Coppola swooped in and knocked the loose ball in.
“I like to go intense – to the extra degree… I feel like if I go hard-core, everyone else will go hard-core,” Coppola said of her approach.
After the speedy Coppola was stopped while driving deep into Panther territory, teammate Olivia Barnard stole the ball back, dodged two defenders and, cutting from Gutterman’s left to her right, beat her with a low-right shot with 59 seconds left in the half.
Rye Neck’s Nicole Miller, who displayed speed of her own, stopped an Olivia Hale shot to start the second half. Gutterman then made a nice save off a corner on a high Barnard shot.
North Salem just missed connecting on a beautiful, Barnard-to-Coppola-to-Dominique DeAngelis-backdoor play.
But with 7:22 left, Victoria Holt didn’t miss, one-timing an elevated Olivia Hale pass past Gutterman.
“I just got lucky,” Holt said.
Taylor Duffy finished North Salem’s scoring with 3:27 left, getting behind Gutterman to bury the ball after a Gutterman save. Barnard had the assist.
Describing the difference between the squads of the past couple of years that lost in the semis and this year’s Tigers contingent, 16-year North Salem coach Jennifer Frohman said, “It’s just 11 girls, playing 100 percent and having confidence and never doubting themselves.”
Of playing Bronxville, the senior Holt said, “We have nothing to lose and everything to gain. I’m going to tell everyone to leave it all out on the field. It’s do or bust.”
Notes: Gulotta figured Rye Neck didn’t play like Rye Neck until the last five minutes of the game, when it applied offensive pressure. Of North Salem, she said, “They’re aggressive. They move to the ball and move the ball well and are very well coached. … Five players — a “good heart of our team,” Gulotta said — will graduate this year. … Frohman isn’t worried about her grass team playing in the finals on turf at Brewster. She said her team was close to a turf team. “It actually benefits us. We’ve got great speed and great stickwork,” she said. … After the game, Coppola talked about training for and beating Bronxville (now not a worry), then going on to “bigger and better.” “It feels amazing,” she said of the semifinal win.
Other playoffs Friday
Lakeland 9, Pearl River 0
In a Class B semifinal at No. 1 Lakeland, the top-seeded, undefeated Hornets advanced to Tuesday’s championship against Rye at Brewster High as Steph Scala scored four goals. Meghan Fahey and Molly Fitzpatrick had two each and Gab Celentano one.
Celentano, Fitzpatrick, Briana Muniz, Julia Kim, Felicia Costanzo, Dana Bozek and Sarah Bard had assists.
Annie McBride had 11 saves for the fourth-seeded Pirates and Amanda Santos stopped two shots for Lakeland and Madison Beames one.
Rye 3, Nyack 0
In a Class B semifinal At No. 2 Rye, Gusine Govaert scored two goals and Ellie O’Callaghan one against No. 6 Nyack.
Govaert and Alex Bennett also had assists.
Nyack coach Cheryl Baker characterized her team’s effort against the heavily favored Garnets as “not too shabby,” and the play of her goalkeep as outstanding.
Note: Nyack’s days of being a grass-field team are coming to an end. Residents passed a bond issue Tuesday that provides for, among other things, an artificial turf field. “We’re excited,” Baker said. … Govaert, who is from Holland, is just a freshman but plays like anything but a freshman. She has been a huge cog in Rye’s high-powered offense.
Hackley 5, Fieldston 4
In a NYSAIS semfinal at No. 2 Fieldston, Ally Petitti scored two goals and Julia Baker, Sasha Bridger and Gianna D’Alessio each had one for No. 3 Hackley, which advanced to Sunday’s championship vs. Rye Country Day at Manhattanville College.
Molly Harmon, Bridger and D’Alessio had assists for the Hornets, whose goalie, Aley Longo, had seven saves.
Sydney Beres, Lily Meyersohn, Emmy Hamilton and Carmen Cee scored for Fieldston. Beres also had an assist and Anya Auerbach had four saves.
Rye Country Day 5, Nichols 3, OT
In a NYSAIS semifinal at No. 1 Rye Country Day, S, Yanna Lee scored twice in overtime off Emily Duarte’s assists. Charlotte Cooper also had two goals, and Zoe Verni added one.
Duarte had three assists overall and Lee had one.
Emma Santucci (seven) and Melanie Mandell (three in OT) combined to make 10 saves for the Wildcats.