THIELLS – Though she was confident with the way the preseason went, Jenna Fox was nervous heading into North Rockland’s season opener on Saturday.
The last time she played on the field wasn’t exactly a shining moment for the team: an 11-6 loss to an upstart Mahopac team in last year’s sectional semifinals.
This time, however, the Red Raiders dominated possession and both sides of the ball in a convincing 13-6 win against Mamaroneck.
“The last time I was here, we lost, but I think with today’s performance, we really pushed down and got the win,” said Fox, a senior midfielder and captain. “We’re just going to keep building from this.”
For a team returning all but one player from last year’s squad that went 15-3, the foundation to build on already seems to be very strong.
Front and center of the returning players includes a trio of all-section players: Fox, senior goalkeeper Gianna Guerra and senior attack and captain Kaitlyn Gutenberger.
“We have a bunch of girls who can score goals and like scoring goals, but they also like doing the dirty work,” North Rockland head coach Greg Borchers said. “They like getting ground balls, they like getting draw controls, and that leads to more possession.”
By the end of the first half, North Rockland held an 8-4 lead, with Lizzie Fox (two goals, two assists) and Gutenberger (two goals, one assist) leading the way.
Mamaroneck didn’t challenge the rest of the way.
“We know what we’re capable of, we know each other and know how we play,” Gutenberger said. “We came out very strong today, we came out pumped. Overall, it’s a great first game.”
Mamaroneck fell to 0-3, already matching its loss total from last season.
The other two losses, one against defending three-time sectional champion Suffern and the other a one-goal loss to Fox Lane, were part of the most difficult stretch of games that Mamaroneck will likely play this season.
“I think this was a winnable game; we just didn’t execute, and I don’t think the last two losses are a reflection of our team,” Mamaroneck head coach Rocky Lividini said. “It’s good exposure to play good teams, and it will help us realize we can play against teams like (North Rockland).”
Player of the game: Lizzie Fox, North Rockland. The sophomore attack, who was an all-section honorable mention last year, finished with four goals and two assists.
Turning point: Early on, Mamaroneck and North Rockland were tied at 1-1. But the Red Raiders began to dominate the draw control circle, at one point winning five straight draws, and were able to build a comfortable lead by halftime.
Stat line: Gutenberger finished with three goals, Aleya Corretjer had two goals and two assists, Caeli Porrette scored twice, while Kerri Gutenberger and Phoebe Mullarkey each had a one-goal, one-assist game. … For Mamaroneck, Sarah Bennett had three goals, Grace Fitzgerald had two goals and an assist, and Cassie Budhill had a goal and an assist.
Quotable: “We usually talk about communication, and we were talking a lot today; we kept the intensity up with our speed and athleticism,” Jenna Fox said. “That was the key to the win, and that’s the key to us having a great season this year.”