On May 23, the No. 2 seed Mamaroneck girls lacrosse team came into their Class A section title game against North Rockland with a chance to do two things; win the program’s first-ever Section I championship and avenge a loss earlier this season to the top-seeded Red Raiders.
Unfortunately for Mamaroneck, redemption was not in the cards as North Rockland overcame an early deficit to topple the Tigers 12-7 and win their third straight Class A crown.
Tyler Zidlicky and Sarah Bennett got Mamaroneck off to a good start, scoring the first two goals of the game to put the Tigers ahead just five minutes in. But North Rockland’s experience in big games shined through, as the Red Raiders were able to wrest the lead from Mamaroneck with 14 minutes left in the first half and never looked back.
North Rockland junior Kerri Gutenberger led the Red Raider charge, finishing with a game-high five scores, one of which was her 200th career goal. Two weeks ago, in a regular season meeting between the two teams, North Rockland came out on top 12-9 with a similarly inspired second half.
“I think we definitely need to capitalize more, we got those two goals and were neck-and-neck with them for a while,” Mamaroneck head coach Rocky Lividini said. “But once they got a little lead, they were able to stall, and for the last 20 minutes or so, we just got tired playing defense.”
North Rockland held onto the lead by dominating in the draw circle and the time of possession seemed to sap the spring from the Tigers’ step, the coach added.
“We weren’t as successful on the draws as we had been all year, and that made a difference,” Lividini said. “It’s tough to come back when you don’t have the ball.”
Despite the loss, it is hard to look at the season as anything but a success for the Tigers. Finishing with a 14-5 record, Mamaroneck’s matchup with North Rockland in the finals marked the first time the program has made its way to a sectional title game, and the Tigers have gone a long way toward establishing themselves as one of the area’s top lacrosse powers.
Lividini noted that just a few years ago, experiencing a season like the one the Tigers just had would have seemed impossible.
“In the last five years, we’ve gone from being a team that was unranked heading into the playoffs to a top three team, then a top two team,” she said. “And we made the semifinals for the first time last year, and our goal this year was to make it to the section title game, even though this isn’t the outcome that we wanted.”
Although the Tigers will now bid adieu to its five senior captains, including Zidlicky, Madeline Riordan, Nora Riordan, Cassie Budill and Emily Mahland, Lividini believes that her 15 returning players—plus a few key additions—will help the Tigers cement their place in 2019.
“We had the toughest schedule we ever had this year, we won some pretty big games, and I can’t say enough about the closeness and the camaraderie of this group that we have coming up,” she said. “We got to this point because we deserved it, and I expect this to inspire the girls to keep a stick in their hands and keep working hard for next year.”