PUTNAM VALLEY – There were a couple of firsts for Putnam Valley’s girls soccer team on Saturday.
For the first time this decade, the Tigers hosted a sectional game.
The sixth-seeded Tigers’ other first was even better: their first-ever win in sectionals in that time frame as well, a 1-0 victory over 11th-seeded Dobbs Ferry.
“Our girls have been together since we were little-little, and we just played together,” junior forward Maddie Deegan said. “It’s been a big improvement, just playing and working together much better.”
Putnam Valley, which had beaten Dobbs Ferry 2-0 during the regular season, dominated possession from start to finish.
“When we heard we would play them at practice, we all got so excited,” eighth-grade forward Lindsay Cohen said. “We were expecting Croton or a better team. We were excited to play them again.”
The game was a much different scene compared to past years, when the Tigers, who improved to 11-4-1, squeaked into sectional play and had to travel to and play a sectional favorite.
“When we went to Bronxville, it was a downer,” Deegan said. “This year, we were really hyped up for it. We were ready to play, and it showed.”
Dobbs Ferry, which had only two scoring chances all game, was able to stay within striking distance with the performance of freshman goalkeeper Erika Totoro, who finished the game with 22 saves.
The Eagles, who themselves made a return to sectionals after finishing the last two seasons with consecutive 2-13 records, finished this year with a 7-9-1 record.
“It’s a really good step for our program; we’ve made incredible improvements and it’s been an honor to play,” senior midfielder Alex Rosillo said. “We had a lot more communication on the field, that was an error the past couple of years, and we got a lot of great young players.”
Putnam Valley will play at third-seeded Albertus Magnus, the defending Class B champions, on Tuesday.
“We’re obviously a little nervous about it, but we just have to go out there and run our hearts out and see how it goes,” Deegan said.
Player of the game: Lindsay Cohen, Putnam Valley. The eighth-grade forward scored the lone goal of the game in the 16th minute, collecting Deegan’s cross in the center of the box and squeaking in a shot that Totoro was unable to handle cleanly.
“I just tried to get a touch on it; it wasn’t my strongest shot,” Cohen said. “I guess because the ball was wet, it just slipped through (Totoro’s) hands and went in.”
Turning point: In the second half, Putnam Valley kept pressing for an insurance goal, but the Tigers’ defensive line got caught up too high in the 59th minute, giving up a breakaway to Dobbs Ferry’s Amanda DiStefano. The junior forward, however, shot wide right. It would be the last scoring chance the Eagles would get.
Quotable: “I wasn’t on the team last year, but from watching their games, we’ve made a big improvement,” Cohen said. “We’ve made such a big improvement, and now we’re in sectionals and moving on. It’s really incredible.”