MAHOPAC, N.Y. – A three-goal deficit proved too much for Mahopac field hockey to overcome in their first sectional playoff game in three years.
In a rematch of their final regular season match, the eighth-seeded Indians dug themselves a 3-0 then 4-1 hole against visiting Roy C. Ketcham, the No. 9 seed.
“We just didn’t show up in the first half,” said co-captain April Heady. “We weren’t playing to our potential.”
Down 3-0 at halftime, Mahopac rallied back and scored a goal early in the second half. But Ketcham responded with a goal of their own. Mahopac scored the next two goals, including their final one with 2:42 to play, cutting Ketcham’s lead to 4-3.
But time was Mahopac’s enemy. The comeback attempt fell short.
“[Coach Dona] DiMaggio put it best at the end of the game,” said Caitlyn Reilly, senior co-captain. “If we had just 5 more minutes we could’ve won. We just ran out of time.”
The weight of the game was not lost on the Mahopac players, whose emotions got the best of them in the first half.
“There were a lot of emotions going into the game,” said co-captain Alex Baranowski. “We went into the game nervous and sad that it may be the last one we ever play together again.”
Reilly said it took too long for Mahopac to calm down and find their footing.
“We realized going into halftime that we weren’t attacking. We were in a way retreating whenever they had the ball,” Reilly said. “Starting the second half, we made it known that we weren’t backing down. We went back onto the field with our heads high and played our game.”
Mahopac, not wanting to go out with a whimper, fought back.
“We sure gave [Ketcham] a run for their money,” Heady said. “Even though we lost, I’m proud of the girls and the season we had. This sure was a comeback season. Not once did we give in, every game we fought to the end and gave it our all. We achieved so much this season and it proved just how much potential we really had.”
Mahopac field hockey, winless a year ago, finished the season with a record of 8-6-3.
“We went from a really rough season last year to beating some teams we haven’t in a long time and making it into sectionals,” said co-captain Mary McDermott. “The fact that this team got us into sectionals and were seeded high enough to play our last game at home is amazing.”
Reilly echoed those sentiments.
“I cannot express how proud I am of this team,” Reilly said. “No matter what setbacks we endured, the comebacks were bigger and better.”
Despite exceeding expectations in the regular season, the playoff loss still stings.
“It’s bittersweet,” Baranowski said. “I really couldn’t have asked for a better season but it’s sad for our seniors to say goodbye. We really came together this year and poured our hearts out on the field every game. We had such talented players, supportive parents, and an incredible coach and athletic director. I was honored to serve as captain of such an incredible team.”