PUTNAM VALLEY Playing on one of the last remaining astro-turf fields in Section 1 is a point of pride for the seniors on the Putnam Valley girls lacrosse team.
The No. 2 Tigers were undefeated at home heading into their Class C first-round game against No. 15 Rye on Thursday. While the Bill Conroy athletic facility will get a new, modern turf field after this season, the seniors were looking to send the field, known as “The Big Green Monster,” out in style.
“This is our last year with this turf so we kind of want to make it a good one,” Tigers’ senior Mel Wagner said. “We just need to honor the last year of the field.”
The Tigers defended their home turf with an 8-7 win over the defending Class C sectional champions. Senior Erin McCrudden led the way with three goals and three assists. Wagner, also a senior, and junior Samantha Cunningham each scored two goals.
Putnam Valley will host No.7 Hen Hud in the quarterfinals Saturday at 11 a.m.
Putnam Valley coach Kurt Worell was proud of his upperclassmen leading the Tigers to victory against a team that is one season removed from a trip to the state semifinals.
“The younger girls really stepped up to support the seniors, and the seniors really took the younger girls with them,” Worrell said. “The seniors have the experience and the younger girls know the seniors have their backs.”
The Tigers were able to maintain a small lead throughout the first half, but strong play from Rye’s goalie Micheline DiNardo, who made nine saves in the first half, kept the game within reach for the Garnets.
“We have great scorers, but sometimes it just comes down to placement,” Putnam Valley assistant coach Kristie Worell said. “Sometimes goalies step up when they know they have great scorers in front of them as well.”
The Tigers took a 5-4 lead into halftime, but less than six minutes into the second half Rye was able to score twice to take a 6-5 lead. McCrudden answered back for the Tigers, scoring twice and assisting on Cunningham’s eventual game-winning goal with nine minutes remaining.
“We read the defense overall as a team,” McCrudden said. “When the double came stronger and (Rye) left a girl open in the middle the dish was there. When the double was there and they kind of laid off, holding in the middle more, the take was there to the goal.”
Beating a team that made such a deep run in last season’s playoffs is a confidence booster for Putnam Valley.
“I think that it shows that we can really go far this year,” Wagner said. “We’ve all really had that set in our minds since the beginning of the season. That’s what we’ve been working towards.”