NYACK, N.Y. – Somers’ field hockey team had nothing to lose—and it showed.
With the scoreboard reading 1-0 Lakeland at halftime, the Tuskers were very much in the game in the Section 1 Class B championship game on Nov. 2 at Nyack High School.
“We went in with the Cinderella story, thinking we can do this. We had nothing to lose going into the game and everything to gain,” said Somers coach Michelle Armstrong. “We were really excited and pumped up. At halftime, we were saying, ‘We can do this, we can actually do this.’ I was super proud of them. They went in and gave 110 percent and they put it all on the line.”
But the top-seeded Hornets proved too much, handing second-seeded Somers a 4-0 loss. Lakeland won its 11th consecutive Section 1 title.
The Tuskers faced corner after corner but their defense and goalie Nicole Garrity (13 saves) were up to the task.
“Our goalie was on point today,” Armstrong said. “She played amazing and was stopping a lot of shots. She came in at the beginning of the year with a different mindset, thinking that, ‘I need to talk more and I need to communicate with the team better.’ And she has done that. She’s really been leading the defense from behind this year. It’s been wonderful.”
Lakeland added a goal about 10 minutes into the second half. The Hornets then made it 3-0 with 11:02 to play and scored an insurance goal 3:30 later.
Somers fell to Lakeland, 9-0, during the regular season, but Armstrong knew her team was better than they showed on that rainy day.
“We weren’t clicking and it wasn’t their best (game),” Armstrong said of the first meeting. “I don’t know if it was the weather or not. We worked really hard on the little skills to try to get us better and ready for this game. We had like a whole week of practice. Once the season started, we didn’t have that anymore because it was game, practice, game, practice. We got to work on some things that we needed to work on to get them to play as well as they did today.”
The Tuskers, whose program was in turmoil just two seasons ago when they had to make a midseason coaching change, have turned things around. Somers made the quarterfinals last year in Armstrong’s first season as head coach and posted an 11-4-4 record this season on top of their trip to the finals.
Armstrong said she’ll miss the senior group, who left a substantial mark on the program.
“They were really upset, but I told them it wasn’t the end for Erin (Clark) and Haley (Dineen), because they’re going to be playing in college,” Armstrong said. “I told them, ‘You’ve got bigger and better things ahead of you now.’ But they are leaving a big mark. And the girls who aren’t going to be playing in college, they just have a great attitude and are role models for these girls.”
Clark will continue her career at Oneonta while Dineen will be competing at Union College (Schenectady).
Somers 6, Pelham 1
Bella Del Vecchio scored 3 goals and Clark had 1 goal and 4 assists in a 6-1 win over third-seeded Pelham in the Section 1 Class B semifinals on Oct. 30.
Ryan Mellor and Julianna Sirchia also scored. Nieve Mahood had an assist. Garrity made 3 saves.