I covered Saturday’s Section 1 Class AA and B finals with photographer Frank Becerra Jr.
Below is my game story about Bronxville’s win over Briarcliff with some extra notes. I’ve included two of Frank’s photos, including, above, the Broncos’ post-game celebration. To see more of his photos from the game, visit lohud.com . –Nancy
FREEDOM PLAINS Before Saturday’s Section 1 Class B championship game between No. 1 Bronxville and No. 2 Briarcliff, Lucy Kohlhoff had to have a teammate help her tie her shoes.
The senior (pictured below in white with Briarcliff’s Cassidy Carrafiello) broke her right wrist in the first half of the Broncos’ 2-0 semifinal win over Albertus Magnus, scoring a goal after the injury.
Saturday, running around with a giant, heavily padded cast, she showed once again that the break has had no impact on her feet.
Kohlhoff’s second-half goal gave No.1-seeded Bronxville a two-goal cushion en route to a 3-0 win.
The win gave Bronxville its fifth consecutive section championship. The 18-1 Broncos will play the winner of Section 4-9 next Sunday at in the regional final.
Kohlhoff was only part of Saturday’s story.
Briarcliff, 17-3, which lost in overtime to Bronxville during the regular season, outplayed the Broncos early, when Bronco senior goalie Charley Warble made the bulk of her 10 saves to keep the game scoreless. She also was helped out by Briarcliff, which hit both a post and the crossbar.
“The first 15 or 20 minutes, they had a few chances that were a little scary,” Kohlhoff admitted.
But with a gusty wind in their face and Briarcliff playing well, Bronxville took advantage of a disputed foul call to score its first goal with 18:42 left in the first half.
Senior Killian Donohue took a free kick from about the 5-yard-line, just inside the left sideline.
Bronxville coach Don Cupertino signaled for her to put it on net and she did just that — with, she explained, a little help from the wind.
“Usually,” Donohue said, “I hit it over or wide but, once I saw it in the air, the wind just took it.”
Took it and carried it inside the far post, out of the reach of Briarcliff goalie Sydney Wolin (five saves).
“It was a very tough call but that’s soccer sometimes,” Briarcliff coach Owen Scully said of the foul that led to the kick.
He characterized it as a “changer,” and, indeed, Bronxville outplayed Briarcliff almost from that moment on.
Kohlhoff’s goal off a Mason Warble pass came with 18:23 left in the second half and Donohue, who, prior to Saturday, had netted only two goals this season, scored again a little more than two minutes later.
Cupertino, who termed Donohue’s play “fantastic,” also praised Kohlhoff.
“It was unbelievable. She wanted to play and she made a difference, absolutely,” he said.
Notes: Donohue has been on varsity for four years. Kohlhoff has played four full years on varsity and was also pulled up for playoffs in eighth grade, although, she noted, she warmed the bench. … Cupertino has led Bronxville for 24 years. … Cupertino termed the wind “tough” and Scully said he saw “strange stuff” as a result of it. “It was very difficult to defend in those conditions,” he said. … Kohlhoff pointed to Bronxville’s fitness as a big reason it continues to win the section. “We’re not tired. We’re ready to go,” she said after the game, praising the Broncos’ coaching staff. … Because her cast seemed so large, Kohlhoff looked like she was lugging around 30 pounds. But she explained it’s pretty light and not that big. The extra size was from mattress foam she used for extra padding. Rules mandate a half-inch of padding around a cast to offer protection both to the wearer and anyone the cast might encounter on the field. But Kohlhoff went with an one-and-a-half inches. She fell one time, which “kind of hurt,” but otherwise was fine, although she said she hastened her release of the ball a bit. … Before Kohlhoff scored against Magnus, her wrist had been wrapped on the sideline and she didn’t know it was broken. … Warble and Wolin traded good plays in the game’s first few minutes. Warble dove right in making a save and Wolin slid out to grab a ball with the very speedy Caitlin Fryer right on her. … Briarcliff’s hit crossbar directly followed consecutive Warble saves. … The game might have been over but neither team was playing like that when, with seven minutes left, Fryer got free on a breakaway and Wolin charged out, dove and stopped her. … Of Bronxville’s turnaround, Kohlhoff said, “We stepped up and brought it to another level.” … No one seemed more pumped pre-game than Briarcliff’s bear mascot, who did splits and assorted dance moves as the PA played Bon Jovi. After the game, the bear went over to the team and gave senior Jenna Heitzler a, well, bear hug.