Tomorrow is the big day in Section 1 field hockey with No. 2 Rye trying to do what no one has done in a very long time and defeat defending state champion Lakeland for the B title; Pawling and North Salem, whose coaches are probably are still doing a lot of cramming about one another, squaring off for the C crown crown; and Scarsdale and Mamaroneck, which know a lot about each other, fighting for A.
One interesting tidbit about the Pawling-North Salem game is that Terri Reid, mother of Pawling’s Annie Reid, and Marie Duffy, mother of North Salem’s Taylor Duffy, play for the Danbury-based Battle Axes, a women’s ice hockey team. The two have also represented the Hudson Valley in the Empire State Games.
Game times for Tuesday’s matchups, which will be at Brewster High (actually, across the street, behind JFK Elementary School), are 3:30 p.m. for B, 5:30 p.m. for C and 7:30 p.m.
Yesterday, though, I got to see some good private school hockey.
Rye Country Day blanked Hackley 5-0.
Both teams are very young, meaning it isn’t a stretch to think the two will face each other for the New York State
Association of Independent Schools title again next year. It would be cool to see that local rivalry grow with more than just parents, alumni, staff and friends in the stands.
Considering yesterday’s chill and wind, though, the teams attracted a healthy crowd. There were a number of very skilled players on the field but those on hand got to see one of the area’s best in Emily Duarte. Not one of her three scores was a give-me. No luck. All deke-this-way-and-that skill and smarts.
My game story about the Wildcats’ win and some extra notes on the game follow.
Rye Country Day 5, Hackley 0
PURCHASE – It took a little time for Emily Duarte’s lower back, injured in Rye Country Day’s semifinal win, to loosen up on Sunday.
But when it did, the junior showed why Harvard has already secured her future field hockey services.
The Rye resident scored three times to help lead top-seed RCDS to a 5-0 win over No. 3 Hackley in the New York State Association of Independent Schools championship.
The NYSAIS title was 14-1 RCDS’s sixth since 2004 and its third consecutive.
Although both clubs are young (RCDS with just one senior and Hackley with two), the Wildcats are more experienced and that showed during the game, played at Manhattanville College.
“We lost 13 seniors (from last year). I thought we played very well, actually, despite the score,” said Hackley senior Caroline Chmiel of Chappaqua.
The teams had met once before this season with RCDS winning in overtime.
But early on it was clear no overtime would be needed.
Mariana Lee beat Hackley keeper Aley Longo (seven saves) from in tight with 18:48 left in the first half.
Five minutes later, Duarte eluded two defenders and buried a shot low.
Hackley, which finishes 11-5-1, only had one shot by the time Duarte scored off a corner with 1:33 left in the half.
It would have been 4-0, if not for a fine, last-second Longo high-left-blocker save.
“I think we were nervous. None of my players had ever been in this position before in any sport. I could sense it on the bus ride over,” Hornets coach Jenny Leffler said.
Leffler credited the poised, good-stickhandling Chmiel with holding things together.
And, indeed, Hackley played better later.
But while it tested starting goalie Emma Santucci with two shots, then Melanie Mandell with four, it found itself out of the game when Duarte did a 360 before scoring on a low, hard shot with 23 minutes left.
The final nail was sophomore Charlotte Cooper’s penalty stroke 70 seconds later – a no-chance-for-Longo beauty, into the net’s upper right corner.
Longo, a senior from Harrison, was pleased reaching the finals, explaining, “No one expected us to do much. … We clearly showed we’re an amazing team.”
Cooper, who has two championships in two years on RCDS’s varsity said, “Hopefully, we’ll go for a third… I can’t wait until next year.”
Notes: Of the difference in the game, Chmiel emphasized Hackley’s inexperience. “For so many starters, this is their first years starting or even first on the team,” she said. … Leffler is expecting more out of her group in the future. “It’s a very young team but really determined. A lot (of players) are looking for more out-of-season (playing) opportunities, which is a new thing,” she said. It’s not a new thing at RCDS, according to 14-year coach Georgette Summers, whose previous NYSAIS championships were in 2004, 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2013. She noted a number of Wildcats play in the U.S. national Futures program and said she and her staff emphasize the importance on attending camps, playing on outside club teams and, basically, playing anywhere else they can. RCDS, whose only loss this season was to Greenwich Academy and which still has two tournaments to play, is also strong, Summers indicated, because of the close work among the Wildcat coaches. “We’re a very cohesive coaching staff. Five of us work really well together,” Summers said, noting one JV coach videotapes all the varsity games. … Chmiel, who played four years for Hackley, caught the eye of Manhattanville field hockey coaches in the press box. But Chmiel, who’s also a golfer, said she won’t play any sport in college. … Summers termed Duarte a “natural talent” but said she also works at her game. In fact, on the field and in the classroom, “she’s methodical” about her work, she said. .. Cooper, who termed her team “great friends,” noted she always goes right (goalie’s left) on penalty strokes. But even had Longo known that, her shot was so high and quick it seems likely it would have gone in anyway. … Colleges only abandoned the penalty stroke as a game-decider last year and New York public schools followed suit this year. Unclear whether independents will follow.