HILLBURN – With a third-straight Class A title on the line, top-seeded Suffern was in the unusual position of being in a close game against a Section 1 opponent.
The Mounties goalie, Penn-bound Mikaila Cheeseman, stepped up when her team needed her the most, as the junior made 10 of her 12 saves in the second half and Suffern went on a late surge to defeat sixth-seeded Mahopac 10-6.
“I just think that we didn’t have the momentum,” Cheeseman said. “I felt that I needed to pick my game up, so they could do it as well.”
At the start of the game, it looked like Suffern coach John Callanan‘s hope for a “boring” game would come to fruition, as the Mounties got goals from Regina Sharp, Alli Iodice (two), Caitlin Leary and Baley Parrott to take a 5-0 lead less than nine minutes into the game.
Mahopac, led by Kim Harker, began to win the draw controls, and with 11:32 left, scored four straight goals to cut the deficit to one.
Suffern got goals from Dana Gisonno and Iodice to take a 7-4 lead into halftime.
The Mounties were in a familiar situation, having played close games against top out-of-section teams such as Manhasset and Garden City.
“In those games, we’ve had leads and lost them, so we’ve got experience when we lose momentum,” Suffern’s Sharp said. “We know how to gain that momentum back from those falls in the game.”
Mahopac got goals from Kelly Maxwell and Francesca Ferreira to cut Suffern’ lead to one goal, but Cheeseman made four consecutive saves on tough Mahopac shots, and with 11:40 left, Hannah Newman scored to give Suffern and 8-6 lead.
Sharp added two more goals in the final eight minutes to clinch the Mounties’ third-straight Class A title.
“It was huge, since I know from personal experience, they were going to have so much momentum if it was seven-seven,” Cheeseman said of her play in the second half. “I had to come up big and make a couple of saves.”
For Mahopac, Maxwell and Harker both had two-goal, one-assist games. For Suffern, Iodice had three goals and an assist, Sharp had three goals and Parrott had a goal and two assists.
With the section title crossed off the checklist, Suffern will begin its run for the state championship on Wednesday in regional play against Section 9’s Kingston.
“Mahopac was a very good team, they were aggressive and kept us having to work hard,” Sharp said. “We got to keep working hard, we got to keep that up, staying focused.”
Click here to see my photo gallery of the game.
(Photos by Adrian Szkolar/The Journal News)