Here is my game story on North Rockland’s 13-12 win over Suffern.
THIELLS It’s important for a goalie to have a short memory. North Rockland freshman Gianna Guerra learned that lesson and it served her well as she made two key saves in the final two minutes to preserve the Red Raiders’ 13-12 win against visiting Suffern Tuesday.
“I knew that we had to win and it was a big game,” Guerra said. “I was kind of shaky in the beginning, but during halftime I knew I had to pick it up.”
Guerra, who finished with seven saves, made two stops in the crease to make North Rockland’s one-goal lead stand up.
Earlier in the half, Red Raiders coach Greg Borchers told Guerra to relax after she was clearly upset by her errant pass that led to a Mounties goal.
“I just said get the next one,” Borchers said. “It’s probably the best advice (Guerra’s) teammates could give her. It’s just buckle down and see if you can come up with another save, and they’ll do a good job picking her up. That’s exactly what it was.”
“They came out and established a tempo right from the start,” Suffern coach John Callanan said. “We never really got in our groove, and that’s as much a credit to how well North Rockland prepared themselves mentally for this game as it is to us just not coming out ready to go.”
The Mounties regrouped, cutting the deficit to 9-6 at halftime and tying the score at 11-11 with 17 minutes remaining thanks to Caitlyn Leary’s four second-half goals.
Suffern’s ability to come back was something Borchers warned his team about after they took the early lead.
“The first time out the first thing I said to them was expect this game to be tied at some point,” Borchers said. “We showed a lot of character today making sure we battled back, and that’s the biggest thing.”
North Rockland junior midfielder Kaitlyn Rau answered back, scoring back-to-back goals to put the Red Raiders ahead 13-11 with 11:39 remaining.
“I really wanted to win this game, so I just picked up my intensity,” said Rau, who finished with seven goals and two assists. “I did the best I could do.”
Bailey Parrott made it a one-goal game with seven minutes remaining, but the Red Raiders won the ensuing draw, allowing them to take four minutes off the clock before the Mounties regained possession.
After Guerra’s initial save, a failed North Rockland clear gave the Mounties another opportunity.
“I knew I had to save them,” Guerra said. “The game was just so close and intense. Since it’s my first year I just knew I had to pull through.”
Photos courtesy of John Meore/The Journal News. For the entire gallery click here.