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Oct. 7, 2017 — No. 5 Shrub Oak Lakeland (N.Y.) 4, No. 3 Mamaroneck (N.Y.) 2

SHRUB OAK, N.Y. — Seven years ago, the Shrub Oak Lakeland (N.Y.) field hockey team, featuring a high-scoring forward named Emma Bozek and a hard-striking midfielder named Shannon Scavelli, squared off against a young but precocious sophomore goalkeeper named Danika Hornick during an interconference match with Darien (Conn.), which, like the Hornets, were defending state champions. Lakeland lost that game.

But on this night Lakeland, the state Class B champions, faced off against another state titlist. And Class A’s Mamaroneck (N.Y.) had another young and precocious goalkeeper. This time, the Hornets’ high-scoring forward and hard-striking attacking midfielder were enough. Kelsey McCrudden and Caroline Cahill had a goal and an assist as Lakeland won 4-2.

“The comparison is pretty apt,” said longtime Lakeland head coach Sharon Sarsen. “Those two are dominant players for us. It’s pretty similar.”

And, as it turns out, Bozek and Scavelli tutored McCrudden and Cahill during summer hockey at the high school.

“We went to the turf with them, and they are the reason why we are here today,” McCrudden said. “We’ve been raised with this mindset of determination.”

“They were pushing us to go to the turf,” Cahill said. “They instilled in us the fact that we had to work for it.”

The eight state championship banners from the last eight seasons are a testament to that hard work. Lakeland had to overcome its own jitters from trying to extend a 107-match unbeaten streak, the fact that it yielded its first goal of the season just 10 minutes in, and Mamaroneck goakeeper Samantha Maresca, who had an outstanding performance with 15 saves.

“We just want to play our best field hockey, no matter what the opponent,” Maresca said.

Maresca has been working hard on her game since middle school. She has learned from Jamie Brower, the former Hummelstown Lower Dauphin (Pa.) and Penn State great who is now the head coach at Greenwich (Conn.) Academy. She had an enormous game last week against Wilton (Conn.) and was looking to match that effort against Lakeland.

“She was hot, and we wanted to get the ball deep into the circle so that we could get a dangerous shot on her,” Cahill said.

It eventually worked. McCrudden and Cahill gave Lakeland the halftime lead thanks to goals less than two minutes apart.

But the game wasn’t over by any means; an innocuous bit of play in the Mamaroneck attack zone wound up in the back of the net thanks to the Tigers’ Alex Lepore. It was all to play for in the final 20 minutes.

Lakeland was eventually able to force mistakes from the young goalie. McCrudden, in the game’s 44th minute, was able to fire a deep shot that Maresca played right into the path of Lakeland forward Julianne Cappello, who finished to give the hosts a 3-2 lead. And in the last three minutes, Lakeland pressure forced the Mamaroneck defense to cover the ball, leading to a Jessica Ascencao penalty stroke that was converted for the final margin of victory.

The game’s intensity led to a number of talking points. There was a Lakeland flurry about 16 minutes in that led to a sound coming from a pileup in front that sounded very much like a hard plastic ball hitting the goal board. No goal was given, however.

In the 52nd, Lakeland was fortunate not to be facing a penalty stroke on a yellow-card foul deep in the circle with no player between the incident and the goal.

“We thought we had one, and we were fortunate not to have been given a stroke (against),” Sarsen said. “It was that kind of game.”

Mamaroneck (9-1) 1 1 — 2
Lakeland (12-0) 2 2 — 4
M: Sophie Leighton, pc, 10th
L: Kelsey McCrudden (Caroline Cahill), pc, 26th
L: Cahill (Julia Papanicolau), pc, 28th
M: Alex Lepore (Leighton), fg, 40th
L: Julianne Cappello (K. McCrudden), fg, 44th
L: Jessica Ascencao, ps, 58th
Shots — M: 6; L: 20. Saves — M: Samantha Maresca 15, defensive 1; L: Cassie Halpin 4.

FULL TIME Thanks for joining us today; good day and good hockey

FULL TIME This game, frankly, played out like a state tournament match with open play on both ends, an unexpected early goal from Mamaroneck, quick goals from Lakeland, and exhibition of good individual and team skills from both sides

FULL TIME The horn sounds with Lakeland winning 4-2

58:50 MHS PC Emily Kness clears and the home support erupts as the clock ticks towards the final minute of play

57:59 MHS PS and GOAL Ascencao pegs it in off Maresca’s stick and Lakeland leads 4-2

57:50 A pileup in the striking circle; Mamaroneck has no choice but to cover the ball; a stroke is called

56:35 LHS PC McCrudden is repelled by Maresca! Wow!

54:45 MHS PC goes around the horn to Molly Banks, who is denied

54:15 MHS PC Shot defensed by Lakeland; rerack because of the stick obstruction

52:00 LHS Time-out

51:40 MHS PC Shot from the left side; rebound hits the post!

51:05 LHS YELLOW Brianna Madison with the foul from behind, denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity; no stroke?

50:29 LHS PC Bad set; Tigers take it away

48:20 LHS GREEN Hannah Hanley is off for the rash challenge

46:23 LHS GREEN Cappello off for two for the breakdown foul

43:04 LHS GOAL Kelsey McCrudden with a long pass in, Maresca with a juicy rebound, and Julianna Cappello scoops up the goodies; Lakeland leads 3-2! What a game!

41:54 Time-out, Mamaroneck

39:48 MHS GOAL An innocuous play leads to a score from Alex Lepore; game tied 2-2!

38:29 LHS PC Kelsey McCrudden rescues the bad pass, aims a shot that is saved

35:42 MHS GREEN Giselle Ciulla is off for two for the trip

34:00 Already the Lakeland defense is more organized with six behind the ball and channeling the opponent towards an uncomfortable position on the field

30:00 The second half is under way

HALFTIME Maresca is as good as advertised; Cahill is the modern equivalent of Shannon Scavelli, when it comes to her ability to bring velocity

HALFTIME What I find interesting is that Lakeland, once they were scored upon, changed tactics after the timeout and they scored two goals in a 1:24 span

HALFTIME The horn sounds with Lakeland leading 2-1

27:21 LHS PC and GOAL Cahill 1-ups it off the Mamaroneck poster and the Hornets take a 2-1 lead!

26:50 LHS PC McCrudden with a shot repelled by Maresca. She’s keeping her side in it

25:45 LHS PC and GOAL Cahill with the option-left to Kelsey McCrudden, who ties it 1-1

25:00 LHS PC Maresca with the save; will rerack

18:16 LHS GREEN Cahill is off for two for the push

16:00 LHS PC First shot is blocked; second backhander is saved by Maresca. A pileup in the circle and Knowles with a defensive save and clear! Nervy moments for Mamaroneck, especially since the sequence was punctuated by a sound of something hard hitting the goal board: did Lakeland score? The ruling on the field is no, and there isn’t any such thing as high-school video referral

15:00 LHS PC Ascensao from the deep angle; Maresca says no

14;16 Time-out, Mamaroneck

12:49 LHS PC Option-left caught in Kelsey McCrudden’s feet

12:00 LHS PC Jessica Ascencao with the drive; Brigid Knowles says no

10:30 MHS PC Kelsey McCrudden defenses the option-left

9:19 MHS PC and GOAL Sophie Leighton receives the ball, pulls left, and finds net! That is the first goal anyone has scored against Lakeland this season! Tigers lead 1-0

5:20 LHS PC Kelsey McCrudden with the option-left from Cahill, but the shot hits the tire outside of the cage

0:55 LHS PC Caroline Cahill with the 1-up; Maresca with the stop

0:00 The game is on

PREGAME Mamaroneck is in the black with orange numbers and white trim; Lakeland is in the white with green kilts and numbers with gold trim

PREGAME The teams are warming up under partly cloudy skies, temperature around 77 degrees

PREGAME Mamaroneck’s defense will revolve around freshman goalie Samantha Maresca; can she help the Tigers steal a road win here?

PREGAME This game’s outcome will be predicated on defense. Despite the fact that Lakeland has graduated its starting backfield, the Hornets have fashioned 11 clean sheets in 11 matches

PREGAME These two sides are coming into the game playing extremely good hockey, with each team having dispatched good interstate competition such as Wilton (Conn.) and Darien (Conn.)

PREGAME Mamaroneck is No. 3 in the Top 10; Lakeland checks in at No. 5

PREGAME Mamaroneck, the defending NYSPHSAA Class A champion, is 9-0 this season; Lakeland, the 8-time defending Class B champion, is 11-0

PREGAME Hello, and welcome to Lakeland High School for this afternoon’s showdown field hockey game between Mamaroneck (N.Y.) and Shrub Oak Lakeland (N.Y.) from 3:30 p.m. this afternoon


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