SOMERS, N.Y.— Almost every team goes through a difficult stretch of games which tests their resolve over the course of a season.
Lakeland/Panas. Fox Lane. Rye. Yorktown.
The Tuskers took their lumps with four consecutive losses to these perennial powerhouses, but they responded in a huge way by defeating Bronxville and John Jay-Cross River last week.
“They’ve always believed in themselves and we had a little bit of a rough stretch,” Somers coach Vin DeGregorio said. “They bought in — it’s 27 guys working for a common goal. We’ve been fixing our mistakes one at a time. Playing the schedule that we do, it’s obviously great to win the last two.”
Somers bested visiting Bronxville 7-4 on April 23.
With the game knotted up at 2-2 at halftime, junior Graham Roediger gave the Tuskers a 3-2 edge with a fast break goal, but Bronxville tied it up a few minutes later.
Then it was time for the Roediger and Andrew Lowman show.
Roediger found a cutting Lowman at the doorstep and the junior midfielder did the rest, depositing the ball in the back of the cage with an acrobatic diving goal to put Somers up 4-3 with 3:02 left in the third.
Lowman was not done there as he grabbed a rebound and finished to stretch the lead to two goals about a minute later to give Somers a 5-3 lead after three quarters.
“We continued to be patient on offense and were methodical on defense,” DeGregorio said of how they pulled out the win. “We wanted to continue to dictate the game and sometimes it’s very difficult to do against a quality opponent. It was nice to see our guys execute and work hard.”
Bronxville got one back early in the fourth quarter, but senior Joe Hashmall unleashed a rocket to stretch the lead to 6-4 with 7:47 to go. Hashmall added an insurance goal with 1:46 remaining on the clock, which proved to be a dagger.
“We didn’t take it lightly,” Hashmall said. “We had a tough loss to Lakeland, up by two, in the same situation we were in today. We kept up the confidence and tenacity and that gave us the edge in the end.”
Roediger finished with two goals and one assist. Senior Mike Couture added a goal and an assist. Junior Vincent Cartelli had an assist, while sophomore goalie Tyler Carr made five saves.
To hold a team like Bronxville to just four goals was impressive to DeGregorio.
“I’m proud of the boys defensively,” DeGregorio said. “They’ve been working hard at practice. We have six long poles at practice that push each other every day. It truly was a defensive effort all week.”
Possession was also critical for the Tuskers against the Broncos, who are a section title threat every season in Class C and usually in the state title mix.
“Our offense played a big role in keeping the ball out of the defensive end,” Hashmall said. “Our coach was saying that our offense is a good defense right now, so keeping it out of their sticks is important. But our defense was organized and they were talking more than they have been. They were patient and weren’t taking gambles.”
Somers trailed host John Jay-Cross River by two goals heading into the fourth quarter on April 21, but outscored the Indians 4-1 in the decisive quarter to pull out a thrilling 8-7 win.
“The boys just played their hearts out and it was all on the kids,” DeGregorio said. “They took the game on their shoulders and let the training take over and they came out on top.”
Roediger (3G, 1A), Lowman (1G, 2A), Cartelli (2G), Jack Kessler (1G), Jake Cordes (1G) and Carr (13 saves) led the way for Somers (6-4).
“We were tenacious, moved our feet and were working the ball around fast,” Hashmall said. “The key to our good offense in the games that we’ve won this year is always getting it around as fast as possible.”
The Tuskers fell to host Yorktown 11-3 on April 19. Yorktown jumped out to a 6-1 halftime lead. Hashmall (1A), Lowman and Roediger each scored for Somers. Carr made eight saves.
Somers’ next three contests are all at home. The Tuskers will take on Horace Greeley at 4:30 p.m. on April 28, face off with Irvington at 11 a.m. on April 30 and square off with Brewster at 4:30 p.m. on May 3.