In the 2016 Class A field hockey finals, defending state champion Mamaroneck was stunned by its league rival from Scarsdale, as the Raiders posted a surprising win over the Tigers, ending their bid for a repeat performance at states. On Oct. 30, however, the Tigers enacted some measure of revenge, topping Scarsdale 2-0 in the Class A semifinals to advance to a championship showdown with Horace Greeley.
Sophie Brill tallied both goals for the Tigers, striking twice in the span of 22 seconds to give the Tigers an insurmountable first-half lead. According to Brill, the memory of last year’s loss to the Raiders was one that fueled the team all season long.
“We’ve been using that section final as motivation right from the beginning,” Brill said. “We didn’t forget that moment, it gave us an extra push, and it meant a lot of hard work from our team all year long.”
The Raiders pushed the tempo early, getting a few runs toward the goal in the opening minutes, but the Mamaroneck defense, anchored by Emily Mahland, held firm and helped turn the momentum back in favor of the Tigers. Brill’s goals, which came with 16:52 and 16:30 left in the first half, would be the only offense Mamaroneck would need.
“[Scarsdale] played great, they attacked us right away and we were on our heels for the first three minutes of the game,” Mamaroneck coach John Savage said. “The defense played good, Emily was dominant, we steadied the ship and got those two goals in the first half which is pretty good.”
Mamaroneck’s goals may have also been the result of some lineup configurations the Tigers made after a 1-0 quarterfinal round win over Clarkstown South. Hoping to create more scoring chances, Savage moved several players around—including shifting Brill from right wing to left wing—in order to induce more shots on goal.
“We needed to get more opportunities so we made some changes just this week,” Savage said. “And we knew Sophie could play the left wing because it takes a very skilled individual who has to play on her reverse stick-side a lot and you have to be able to get it over and finish.”
With the win, the Tigers earned the right to take on Horace Greeley in the Class A finals on Nov. 1 at Pace University, after press time. The Tigers topped the Quakers 1-0 on Sept. 12, and Savage is confident that if Mamaroneck can contain big-hitting center back Sophia Grant, they will have a good opportunity to hoist another sectional plaque.
“[Grant] is an All State player, in my mind, and she can really whack the crap out of the ball,” the coach said. “We’ll have Brigid [Knowles] about five yards away from her and she really did a great job last time taking away those long drives.”
According to Brill, the Tigers simply need to bring the same intensity on Wednesday, as they brought against the Raiders in the semis.
“If feels so amazing to get back to the game we felt we belonged in,” she said. “Now we just have to hopefully take it home this time.”