HILLBURN From the first day of practice the expectations were high for Suffern.
Every single player returned to the squad that reached the state semifinals in 2013. A slew of Division I commitments and a preseason ranking in a national poll only increased the hype for the Mounties.
Still, sectional titles are earned, not given. So on Thursday night No. 1 Suffern did just that, cruising to an 11-4 win over No. 2 Lakeland/Panas in the Class A sectional final to win its second straight title.
“The rankings and the seedings and that kind of stuff really doesn’t matter when it comes to the postseason,” Suffern coach John Callanan said.
Alli Iodice led Suffern with four goals, while Dana Gisonno added three goals and an assist.
The Mounties will play the winner of Section 2/Section 9 in the regional final May 31 at Torne Valley at 4 p.m.
Suffern (15-3) made a six-goal run that spanned a huge portion of the first half to take a 7-2 lead on Lakeland/Panas (14-2-2) into halftime.
It was a patient approach for Suffern, which scored a majority of its goals in settled situations.
“I think we were looking for opportunities,” Callanan said. “Lakeland was able to do a good job getting back and force us, at times, to settle in.”
The win snaps a five-game losing streak for the Mounties against Lakeland/Panas in the sectional finals.
“I think we were thinking that if history were to repeat itself it definitely wouldn’t be in our favor,” said Suffern junior Baley Parrott, who had a goal and two assists. “We decided to change the odds and kind of make a new tradition.”
The Mounties now focus their attention on the state tournament, where they’ll look to once again make another deep run.
“I think a little bit older, a little bit more experience should help,” Callanan said. “I think we’re a little more comfortable. I think we have a better understanding of where this leads.”