SCARSDALE – For most of Saturday’s Section 1, Class A field hockey semifinal game against Clarkstown South, Scarsdale was cruising along – with the exception of one sudden hiccup.
With 1:14 left in the first half and the Raiders up 1-0, Clarkstown South managed to earn a rare penalty corner, and made the most of it when Jenna Rogers buried a rebound to tie the game.
1:14 1H, South gets a corner, makes the most of it. Jenna Rogers ties it at 1. pic.twitter.com/tHB6xyRI2e— Adrian Szkolar (@Szkolar_Lohud) October 29, 2016
Scarsdale’s Jilly Mehlman, however, didn’t want any part of seeing the second-seeded Raiders get upset by the third-seeded Vikings.
Immediately after Rogers’ goal, the senior managed to run with ball down the field, with the thought of just getting the ball to the net in hopes of drawing a corner. Better than drawing a corner, she scored, putting the Raiders back up 2-1 with 28.2 seconds left in the half.
“When South tied it, I was like ‘it’s go time,’ I wanted to use my speed and do everything humanely possible to get the ball up the field,” Mehlman said. “I wasn’t worried, I knew we were better. When it was 1-1, it just meant it was going to get everyone going again.”
An avalanche of Scarsdale goals followed in the second half, and the Raiders earned their first trip to the sectional finals in three years with a 7-1 win.
Mehlman, one of the fastest lacrosse players in Section 1, showcased her speed on Saturday, dribbling the ball past Clarkstown South defenders on the right wing to generate a good portion of her team’s scoring chances.
It was how she opened the game’s scoring early in the first half, beating everyone down the wing and cutting inside.
“She’s got tremendous people, she can really beat people up the wing and send beautiful cross balls,” Scarsdale head coach Sharon Rosenthal said. “She had tremendous energy today, her speed all game long was incredible. It was a well-fought game on both ends, I give South a lot of credit for playing hard and keeping up.”
Clarkstown South finished the season with a 14-3-1 record, ending a campaign which head coach Jordan Turner called the greatest ever in the program’s history.
“We’ve been playing together for more than six years, we play travel together, it’s just a really weird feeling that it’s actually over,” senior Colleen Geyer said. “Even when the season’s over, we’re always with each other. We’re still going to be together, it’s just weird we’ll never play together again”
Less than 24 hours before Saturday’s game, the Vikings defeated Suffern, a traditional field hockey power in Rockland county, 1-0, with the lone goal coming with 17 seconds left.
“That was probably our best game; we hadn’t beaten Suffern in 27 years, so to actually beat them was crazy” senior Danielle Noia said. “We’re a family; everyone cheers each other on no matter if someone is having a bad day. We’re always there for each other.”
Scarsdale will play either top-seeded Mamaroneck or No. 5 Horace Greeley in the Class A final at Brewster High School on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.
Player of the game: Jilly Mehlman, Scarsdale. After scoring both goals in the first half, Mehlman took the role of playmaker in the second half. She finished the game with two goals and two assists.
Turning point: At the start of the second half, Clarkstown South pushed for the equalizer. The Raiders, however, managed to get possession back and turn quickly upfield on a counter, which ended with Mehlman setting up Erin Nicholas in front to put the Raiders up 3-1 with 28:17 left in the game.
Stat line: Nicholas had a goal and two assists, Emma Schwartz and Abby Glaser had a goal each, Emma Coleman had an assist and Audrey Shaev scored the game’s final two goals. For Clarkstown South, Noia had an assist.
Quotable: “The floodgates were open after that; we were in a scoring mood,” Mehlman said of her go-ahead goal in the first half. “Everyone was transitioning, there were no gaps between our offense and defense, it was a unified front and that’s why we were so successful.”
“Going in at 2-1, we still believed we could win. They were dominating the game, but if you can keep it close, you can win,” Clarkstown South head coach Jordan Turner said. “Winning more games than any other South team is special, but I think this a really special group in that they are tight-knit. They are a fun to coach and they are easy to coach because they are a committed and dedicated team.”