NEW ROCHELLE – For most of the first half of Thursday’s game against Ursuline, Mamaroneck looked like a team with a 1-4 record.
With her team down by two goals late in the half and struggling to get anything going on offense, Mamaroneck goalie Talia Land stepped up.
The senior made four saves to end the half, the last one on an uncontested close-range attempt as time expired.
The Tigers eventually figured out Ursuline’s defense, and scored seven of the game’s last 10 goals for a 12-10 comeback win.
“We were dropping the ball a lot and we were rushing for some reason,” Land said. “On defense, we left a lot of girls behind us in the first half, so we focused on that going into the second half, and that helped us.”
Mamaroneck improved to 2-4, and while the team already has more losses than last year’s squad that went 14-3, the schedule hasn’t been exactly kind to the Tigers.
The early slate of games for Mamaroneck has included losses to Rockland powers Suffern and North Rockland, as well as one-goal losses to quality programs in Fox Lane and Scarsdale.
“We needed today, we really needed the confidence from this game.” Mamaroneck head coach Rocky Lividini said. “Our offense really proved they know how to put the ball away in the goal. When the younger kids step up, their confidence comes back.”
Two of those young players were sophomore Madeline Riordan, who finished with four goals, one assist and six draw controls, and freshman Sarah Bennett, who finished with three goals and two assists.
“At halftime, we all realized that we love each other and when we play as a team, it works,” Riordan said. “We noticed we were looking for cutters, we had to make great passes, and that really showed at the end of the game.”
The loss was Ursuline’s first of the season, and the Koalas have been one of the more surprising teams in Section 1.
After going 5-11 last year, former junior varsity coach and first-year varsity coach Jocelyn Grafstein has the Koalas off to a 4-1 start. The highlight of the season so far was an upset 17-11 win over Fox Lane last Wednesday.
“It has been so exciting; it’s been such a well-balanced team,” said Ursuline senior Julianna Sullivan, who finished with three goals and two assists against the Tigers. “By winning the first half, we know we can beat Mamaroneck, and that we can compete with all these good teams.”
Player of the game: Talia Land, Mamaroneck. The Amherst commit kept the Tigers within striking distance early on, making seven saves in the first half. She even picked up an assist on the game’s opening goal with a long outlet pass up the midfield to Bridget Knowles. Land finished the game with 11 saves.
Turning point: Ursuline managed to build its lead to 7-4 with 20:46 left. Bennett scored 35 seconds later, and Riordan followed that up with three unanswered goals, the last two on passes from Bennett, to give Mamaroneck an 8-7 lead with 16:24 left.
Stat line: Knowles and teammate Julia Kwait finished with two goals each, Emily Mahland added a goal and an assist for Mamaroneck while Cassie Budill and Katie Cotter had an assist each. … For Ursuline, Katie McLoughlin had four goals, Madison Boutureira scored twice, Brittany Yaeger had a goal, Caroline Regan had two assists and six draw controls, and Caroline Van Bramer made six saves.
Quotable: “Ursuline was undefeated, so that feels really good for us; we’ve had a rough start to the season,” Land said. “All of our losses were against really good teams, so we’re not too down, but we’re excited we won this game. It’s only going to get better from here.”