MAHOPAC, N.Y.— After fighting back from a 2-0 deficit to tie the visiting Arlington Admirals on Thursday night, Mahopac exploded in a crucial road showdown against Yorktown to win 6-2 on a sunny Saturday, Oct. 15.
“We needed it (the win),” Mahopac coach Dona DiMaggio said of defeating the Huskers. “That was huge. We’re dealing with an injury today we just found out about yesterday (Kim Schiera refracturing her nose). So we had to change our entire game plan. A lot of kids were in new positions but our philosophy was to be in an attacking mode today and we did it. I told them yesterday, ‘You have to get at least 20 tries.’ Keep knocking on the door, and they met several goals which pleased me. I told them, ‘Once you guys meet your goals, the outcome can be whatever you want.’”
Mahopac just made it, shooting exactly 20 times on goal along with 12 total penalty corners. Seniors Julia Brower, Briana Corace and Kim Brower each scored once during the first half to propel the Indians to a 3-2 halftime lead.
“We were really looking to share the wealth in this game,” Corace said. “Spreading the field and getting assists in the circle. We have been working on our sense of urgency and on keeping our full momentum in both halves of the game.”
Mahopac combined another monsoon of goals with some aggressive second-half defense to run away with the victory. Senior defender Dominique Milian roped in a 15-yard goal following a penalty corner not even two minutes into the second half.
Milian showed her passing skills too when she quickly dumped the ball off to Corace, who scraped in a score through a group of Husker defenders on the right edge of the goal to put the Indians up 5-2 with 20 minutes left.
Dominating possession of the ball for the vast majority of the half, Mahopac denied the Huskers entry to even 15 yards within their goal.
“Miriam (Fanous) stepped up for us,” DiMaggio said. “She was playing midfield and I told her to push up. [Yorktown] was playing a lever system, but we were attacking a defender (with Fanous). We released our sweeper and put a cherry picker (Corace) in today to help us a lot in keeping the ball on the attacking half. Everybody stepped up into their new position today and did well.”
Corace completed her first ever hat trick in field hockey by alertly knocking in the rebound from her rocket-like shot which ricocheted off the foot of Yorktown goalie Olivia Sanchez just a second before.
“Winning this game is definitely going to set the tone for sectionals,” Corace said. “Knowing that if we won this game there was a greater chance of getting into sectionals was most of our mindsets. We just need to work together and always have that mindset of wanting to score. We struggled with that most this year and have really worked on it in practice.”
Senior night versus league rival Arlington featured more of a defensive battle.
An even game for the most part throughout, the Admirals shocked the Indians when junior Alicia Grady scooted by and scored on the left side after receiving a pass from sophomore Emily Mahon with 23 seconds remaining in the first half.
Arlington’s Audrey Treanor whacked in a goal after receiving a pass on a diagonal cut to the net with just 12:30 left.
“It was a special night,” DiMaggio said. “For us to be able to keep our heads above water to fight back and get back I was really pleased. I wanted the kids to have fun. Kim Schiera stood out more than anybody in a number of ways. She was spreading the ball and communicating to everybody.”
Schiera took full advantage of being open from 20 yards out and slapped in an unassisted shot that whizzed past a cluster of Admiral defenders about five minutes later to pump the Indians up.
It sure did that since Corace caught Arlington’s goalie snoozing and rolled a slow ball through a scrap of players with about six minutes left in the contest and the game ended in a tie.
“This shows what kind of a team we are,” Schiera said. “We never give up no matter what game it is, whether it is Carmel, Lakeland or Arlington. The team shows so much potential in the way we never give up.”
Senior goalie Gianna Brigante held the fort down by making 14 saves, but the Mahopac offense only managed to lift eight shots on goal throughout the entire game.
“Dominique Milian, Gabby Light, and Julia Brower all in the backfield with Gianna Brigante in goal (did well),” Schiera said. “The whole defense was a wall today and were able to get so many balls out.”
The Indians (6-8-1) relished every moment of their senior night.
“This was one of the best nights ever,” Kim Brower said. “We really pulled it together in the end. We learned a lot about our team since we grew up together; about our strengths and weaknesses. I am going to miss this team so much. We are a whole big family and I trust them with my life, including the ball.”
Mahopac fell to visiting Fox Lane 3-0 on Oct. 17.