VALHALLA – Sometimes coaches push the right buttons.
But of late, 17-year Scarsdale field hockey coach Sharon Rosenthal almost seems to have a touch of psychic in her.
Rosenthal, who captured her first Section 1 title earlier in the week, guided her team to a 5-0 win over Section 9’s Kingston Saturday in the Class A regional final at Valhalla High School.
And she did so relying on the play of a couple of promising ninth-graders and a senior who’s one of the area’s top players.
Moved from defense to forward, freshman Elizabeth Scarcella scored the Raiders’ all-important second and third goals.
The Raiders’ first and fourth scores belonged to another freshman, Sophia Franco, who Rosenthal moved up from junior varsity for post-season play.
“I think everyone is really strong in their positions and we have really good captains,” Franco said of the Raiders’ success. “We’re just a big family and community.”
Rosenthal, who had her soon-to-be-1-year-old baby, Remi, in her arms post-game, said of Franco and Scarcella, “They came out great. No fear today and they got the job done.”
With the win, the 17-2-1 Raiders advanced to Saturday’s state section semifinals to face Section 3’s Baldwinsville. The game will be played at noon at Vestal High School.
Kingston, now 14-1-2, had won 10 consecutive Section 9 Class A crowns. But that comes with a qualifier since, currently, there are only two Class A schools in the section.
The score could have been more lopsided but for goalie Abby Brocco’s 12 saves, some coming off penalty corners and in traffic.
Player of the game: The Raiders’ last goal was scored by its game star, senior Erin Nicholas, who also had three assists.
Turning point: Scarsdale led 1-0, courtesy of Franco’s goal off a scramble that followed a penalty corner with 17:05 left in the first half, when Scarcella also found the back of the cage.
That occurred with about 6:55 left. Nicholas made a beautiful cross-net pass to Scarcella on the left backdoor and Scarcella tapped it in.
Stat line: Scarcella’s other goal came with 21:31 left in the second half as she picked up a rebound off a Nicholas shot and got it in on the left side of the net.
Franco scored off a corner and a Nicholas assist with 5:23 left and Nicholas scored unassisted with 4:25 left.
Scarsdale had a huge 18-2 penalty corner advantage.
Scarsdale’s Lila Horwood had two saves.
Quotables: Scarcella, who termed her squad the “nicest, most welcoming, hard-working team,” thinks Scarsdale can go far at States.
“Our energy and we’re so optimistic,” she said when asked why. “We have amazing passes and just work together.”