Can They Do It Again?
MHS Field Hockey Wins Sectionals & Chance to Repeat as State Champions
UPDATE November 12: After winning in the semifinals on Friday, the MHS team lost 3-0 to Garden City in the state finals.
by Joan R. Simon, photographs by Fred Levine
(November 8, 2005) Can they do it again? That’s the question being asked around Mamaroneck High School about the girls’ field hockey team that last year became the first in the school’s history to achieve a team state championship. (See 2004: MHS Field Hockey Wins State!) A major hurdle was overcome on November 5 when Mamaroneck beat John Jay-East Fishkill (1-0) for the Section 1 Class A title.
Asked about the team's chance to go all the way, co-captain Midori Uehara, a senior recently named Con Edison Athlete of the Week, gave a frank assessment. “I think that if we keep up the intensity and focus we’re in good shape, but that’s not an easy task,” she said. After the sectional final, “everyone was just mentally and physically exhausted,” she noted. The winning goal was scored by junior KJ Warren, a veteran of last year’s team, on a penalty shot in the second 10-minute overtime.
How does this year’s team stack up against the 2004 state champs? John Savage, the team’s longtime coach, replied, “They are a great bunch of kids like last year, they like each other, they go to a team dinner at least once a week at one of the girls’ houses, they work hard.” This year’s record was 16-0-3 (one more tie than last year). “We’ve only had 5 goals scored against us all year,” Mr. Savage noted, while scoring 58 of their own, with 14 shut-outs courtesy of senior goalie Marissa Rubin. Mr. Savage added, “Overall I think last year’s team was a little more passionate and driven because we had lost to Lakeland in 2003 in the semi-finals [ Lakeland easily went on to win the state championship that year] and we used that as positive motivation. (See 2004: Undefeated MHS Team Wins Sectionals, Heads for Regional Championship.) Being the defending state champs, there might be a little of a letdown psychologically … We have the target on our back.”
Looking ahead to next year’s prospects, Coach Savage said, “I feel there are a number of sophomores and freshmen who have taken up the work ethic. I think winning a state championship sets the tone and kids see that hard work pays off.”
Next up will be the Regional finals against Section 9’s Pine Bush on Friday, November 11 th at 11:00 am at the Hudson Valley Sports Dome in Milton. If they are successful, the MHS team will go on to Syracuse for the semi-final match-up on Friday, November 18 and, if they win, the championship game on Saturday, November 19 at 10:00 am.