YORKTOWN – There is no way to simulate the experience of playing in a Section 1 championship game.
It’s a big deal, especially for a team like Suffern.
The program’s first appearance in the Class AA final at Yorktown High School on Sunday did not go exactly as planned. Arlington was a step or two quicker from the start and built a comfortable lead before the Mounties began doing what they do best.
And when it was over, the Admirals were celebrating a 2-0 win.
“I think the day and the moment got a the better of us in the first half,” Suffern coach Phil Madonia said. “We were able to settle them down a little at halftime, but it took another 10 minutes into the second half before we were able to possess the ball. That’s how we got here.”
Arlington was stringing combinations together from the opening whistle and took a 1-0 lead when Molly Feighan controlled the ball on the left side of the box, crossed it perfectly to Cassidy Rykowski for a one-touch goal 26 minutes to go in the first half.
The Admirals kept the pressure on, but were unable to add to the lead before the intermission.
“We were pretty confident coming in,” Mounties senior Caleigh Cahoon said. “We had some great wins all through sectionals. We proved some people wrong. We just couldn’t finish today. I don’t think we were nervous. They were just better in this game. They were physical. They were an all-around good team. The refs let us play. They didn’t call too much, so you just learn and move on.”
Feighan latched onto a ball in the middle of the box eight minutes into the second half, turned and scored.
Arlington had some wiggle room.
Suffern came to life and spent more time on the ball in the last 30 minutes of the game. They manufactured two really good looks, but one went high and one went left.
“We woke up,” Cahoon said. “We’ve come back from bigger deficits. We just weren’t able to put the ball in the back of the net. It’s something we struggled with during the season. Overall, it was good game. It was a great experience. It was a miracle to be here.”
Player of the game: Feighan was a dominant presence from start to finish and kept at least two defenders occupied whenever she was on the ball.
Turning point: Keeping the Mounties off the board when they did begin to push back 10 minutes into the second half was key to the Admirals’ win.
Stat line: Rykowski finished with nine saves for Suffern. … Becky Gold had five saves for Arlington. She also hustled out to smother a pair of 50-50 balls at the top of the box in the second half to keep the Mounties from getting a shot off.
Quotable: “We will gain experience from this, we will gain confidence from this,” Madonia said. “It’s a really good program and we’re moving forward.”