CORTLAND The disappointment in Putnam Valley’s Erin McCrudden’s voice did not overshadow the pride she felt about her team after the Tigers’ 16-6 loss to Section 3’s Skaneateles in the Class C girls lacrosse state semifinals Friday at SUNY Cortland.
“It gives the younger kids something to look up to, something to beat,” said McCrudden, a senior, of the Tigers’ playoff run, the deepest in program history. “Next year’s team is going to try and get back. They’re going to have the same goal to get back to that sectional final game. It adds to the program that much more. It gives the program something to work toward.”
While the Tigers fell short of their ultimate goal of a state championship, Putnam Valley’s program reached new heights this season.
“To even be here playing in this game is an absolute achievement that very few high school athletes across the state actually have,” said Putnam Valley second-year coach Kurt Worell, who guided the Tigers to their first sectional title in program history. “That’s one of the hardest things to do, to put it in perspective. As much as it hurts, they have made an achievement that 110 other schools in Class C didn’t make this year.”
A 5-0 run by Skaneateles midway through the first half gave the Lakers a comfortable lead they would not surrender. Skaneateles junior Molly Wood proved to be a powerful force, finishing with six goals.
“Them having that 5-0 run definitely set us back and put our heads down,” said sophomore Eva Rabson, who scored three goals. “It definitely killed us in the end. If they didn’t make that run, and we came out strong without the nerves, I think we could have came away with the win.”
While the graduation of McCrudden, Mel Wagner, Sayaka Abe and Clare Santacoloma will certainly be felt, the Tigers bring back a wealth of talent for 2014.
Several young players have already gotten experience due to the Tigers’ JV program getting cut. Worell used the additional numbers to run scout offenses and defenses in practice, something he said was key to the success of his team.
“Everybody wanted this as bad as the next girl,” Worell said. “There wasn’t any group of girls that were more involved in where they got to this season than any other.”
Next season the goal will be to continue the upward trend of the program.
“I hope it’s big, and I hope it grows,” said Rabson of Putnam Valley’s future. “I hope little kids realize they can do this. They can grow and be a great sensation.”
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