Foxes Begin Quest for a Title by Overwhelming Ossining

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The Foxes' Sammy Jo Tracy moves toward the goal in Saturday's playoff win vs. Ossining. By Andy Jacobs

Fox Lane’s Bill Broggy has coached a countless amount of athletes over the past quarter century. None of them have made quite the impression on him that Sammy Jo Tracy has.

“She is, by far, the most enjoyable athlete I’ve ever coached in my 28-year-career of coaching all the sports that I’ve coached,” he was saying on Saturday afternoon about his senior lacrosse star. “Unbelievable. She’s unbelievable to watch every day in practice.”

Broggy had just finished watching Tracy score four goals, including the 300th of her varsity career, and assist on five others as the top-seeded Foxes cruised past overmatched Ossining 19-10 at Memorial Stadium in the second round of the Section 1, Class B playoffs to advance to the semifinals against Scarsdale.

Tracy’s milestone goal came in the midst of a dazzling 7-0 blitz by the Foxes over the final 10 minutes of the first half that blew open a contest that had been surprisingly competitive for a while. Fox Lane had already defeated the Pride easily in two regular-season games, but when Molly Malone and Danielle Gervacio scored a minute apart midway through the opening half, Ossining, which had trailed 5-1, suddenly was within 6-5 and looking like a team that believed it could play with the Foxes.

“Of course you get concerned,” admitted Broggy afterwards, “because you know they can run. They’re athletic. They have girls that can run. This is an athletic sport. You need more than stick skills. We knew that because the last time we played they were tough in transition. They’re real tough. They’re a good team.”

Ossining had actually scored the game’s first goal 75 seconds in before the Foxes quickly answered with five goals in succession, the first two coming off the stick of Kate Burbank, who finished with a game-high seven. It took a mere 12 seconds after Burbank’s second goal for the Foxes’ Kailey O’Hagan to collect her first of five, assisted by Tracy. Just 45 seconds later, Tracy, off an isolation play, ran in and beat Pride goalie Grace Lombardi to increase the Fox Lane lead to 4-1.

But Ossining, which had trailed by 10 goals at halftime the last time the teams had met in Bedford a month ago, put up a lot more resistance this time. After Burbank notched her third goal of the afternoon by coming around the back of the cage and firing in a shot from a severe angle to give the Foxes a four-goal advantage with 18:17 to go in the half, the Pride took a timeout and then proceeded to score four of the game’s next five goals.

But with a sudden sense of urgency, Fox Lane began to dominate on the draws and the Pride’s Lombardi found herself besieged by an  unrelenting Fox offensive. Tracy took a pass from Lexi Cannon and scored to give the Foxes’ a two-goal lead with 10:17 remaining in the first half. Just 13 seconds went off the clock before Tracy set up Sydney Stern for an easy score. Nearly two minutes passed and then Tracy sent a one-hopper past Lombardi for her third goal of the game and the 300th of her brilliant career.

“It was very exciting and it’s another step in my career,” said Tracy, who embraced her teammates near the cage after her momentous achievement, but later conceded that her 300th goal didn’t seem any different from all the others that preceded it. “They all feel the same. I don’t put much emphasis on my goals. But I’m just happy we came out here and won today. ”

“I’ve been so lucky to witness all 300 of ’em,” said Broggy, whose team added four more scores over the remainder of the opening half to take a commanding 13-5 lead into intermission. When the teams returned to the field for the second half, it took just 11 seconds for O’Hagan to pick up her fifth goal. Tracy’s fourth and final goal of the game came with 20:54 left and gave the Foxes the 10-goal lead needed to keep the clock running.

“If we get possession, we’re tough to stop,” said Broggy, who saw Ossining’s early success on draws quickly disappear. “I thought we won the majority of the draws for the whole game. After a while, we got a whole bunch of  ’em and that’s when we went on that spurt to go up by, like, nine or 10. If we make the smart pass, we’re tough to defend.”

Now just one win away from a probable third consecutive Class B championship showdown with Yorktown later this week, the Foxes didn’t even let the school’s senior prom the night before stand in the way of Saturday’s playoff victory over Ossining.

“Although I only have four seniors, a bunch of ’em went,” said Broggy. “A lot of the juniors went. So I was concerned about it, believe me.”

A big weekend in which Tracy went to her senior prom just hours before scoring her 300th career goal is now behind her. What will she remember most?

“Senior prom is fun,” she said, “but I love lacrosse and that’s my life now.”

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