Indians, Tuskers Battle to Scoreless Tie, PK’s Not an Option; Bricarcliff vs. Byram Title Tilt Cancelled

Somers M Victoria Righetti and Mahopac M Hailey Pereira get after 50-50 ball in scoreless tie during Saturday’s Put.-N.West. regional
championship.

By Ray Gallagher

Examiner Sports Editor
@Directrays

Somers High was besides itself upon Saturday’s 0-0 tie with visiting Mahopac in the Section 1 Putnam/Northern Westchester Large School Girls’ Soccer Regional Championship game. Mahopac, which was outshot 30-6 and hung on for dear life from the opening whistle, was cool with the notion of co-champions between the bordering rivals, which left everything they had on the field after 110 minutes of scoreless soccer.

Due to the fact that there would be no state tournament on account of COVID-19 restrictions, Section 1 decided the night before the game to eliminate penalty kicks as an option to determine a champion, thus leaving both teams with a pre-determined winner should the overtime process prove fruitless.

“If we needed a team to advance (into a state tournament), we would have had the PKs, but there was no need for it,” said Tim Gavan, the chair of Section 1 girls’ soccer.

That was tough to accept after both teams left it all on the line. Somers, with its potent scoring quartet of Dahlia Pepe, Ella Kittredge, Ava Giudice and Noele DeMarinis, was the better team in terms of time of possession, shots on goal and overall control, but Mahopac’s defensive unit, though lucky at times, stood the test of time.

No.4 Mahopac (8-3-2) vs. No.2 Somers (11-3-1) featured everything one would expect, including sound technique, demonstrable desire, light hostility on both ends of the pitch, sensational goalie play from Mahopac’s Madeline McCrossen, exceptional individual runs (mostly by Somers), which produced a slew of rattled crossbars, and two teams whose players gave everything they had to produce a memorable battle.

It was everything you could ask for, save for the outcome. Section 1 decided the night before this game to eliminate penalty kicks as an option to determine a champion.. Essentially, Section 1 played the contest under the New York State Public High School Athletic Association rule of sharing the championship when there is no longer the need, or chance, for advancement, which nobody, particularly the Tuskers, was happy about.

“It’s extremely frustrating knowing you’ve dominated the game but all that matters is the score, which neither team were able to do,” Holy Cross-bound Somers senior Ella Kittredge said. “I think some of the game is luck and with hitting about eight crossbars the luck just wasn’t on our side today. I am still so proud of our team and how far we’ve come this season. A tie is still better than a loss, but a win certainly would’ve been nice.”

Somers head coach Kelci Hegg said, “It’s tough for both teams to accept. We both put our heart and soul out there on the field and would’ve liked to see a champion in the end. It was a game of inches today, for sure, and those inches just weren’t on our side. I’m extremely proud of this team. The beginning was rough. They had a lot of adjustments… new coach, new style of play to COVID. But they overcame it all and turned it around with nine wins without a loss, 10 if you count today, and we will.”

Mahopac will, too. McCrosson racked up 24 saves as Somers outshot Mahopac and held a 17-2 edge on corners, and Mahopac junior D Maddy DeCola was in on more than a dozen clears while junior D Marissa McCarney flanked Kittredge and Pepe to limit their looks.

“I’m happy with the fight these girls put up,” Mahopac Coach Casey Carroll said. “We had injuries left and right and quarantined players throughout the playoffs, and these kids just pushed through. Piper Klammer is literally on her last leg out there, begging me to let her play the last five with a blown up knee. This is why this team deserved this. We left it all on the field and ended with a championship.

“The back line was phenomenal,” she added. “They saved us today, specifically DeCola. Both Maddies, really. They peaked when they needed to.”

DeCola will take the shared title and not think twice about it, considering how shorthanded the Indians were. Mahopac played without quarantined star Mia Klammer, a legit difference maker.

“We’ll take it (a shared title),” DeCola said. “After all we’ve been through and the way we had to battle shorthanded today. Somers kept us on our toes today and we were under a lot of pressure, but we kept them scoreless and we’ll accept this.”

No.1 BRIARCLIFF and No.3 BYRAM HILLS were supposed to get after it for the Putnam/Northern Westchester Small School Regional title on Monday, but the game was cancelled due to a positive COVID case and is in danger of not being contested at all, according to Bears A.D. Chris Drosopoulos.

Byram advanced to the title game after Saturday’s 2-1 win over host North Salem where Alexa Jindal and Sydney Nicols both scored for the Bobcats.

PLEASANTVILLE’s 2-0 semifinal win over Irvington — behind goals from Mary Grace O’Neill and Izzy Kapoor — allowed the defending NYS Class B champs to reach last night’s Southern Westchester Small School regional title game against Bronxville (more on this game next week). Katie Moses set up both P’Ville scores for a depleted Panther team, which played their quarterfinal shootout win (4-3) over Blind Brook with all but six varsity players sidelined due to quarantine issues. The undefeated P’Ville JV club came to its rescue.

LAKELAND knocked off PUTNAM VALLEY 3-1 in the quarters but was forced to shut it down afterward and would forfeit the semis to Briarcliff.

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