Here’s a brief on Saturday’s games with some notes tacked on.
Mike Dougherty and I are in Cortland and will cover the games with photographer Chris Kitchen.
The location and time of Bronxville’s game have changed due to a little snow on the ground. Instead of being at Cortland High School at noon, it will be at 5 p.m. at SUNY Cortland. The three other games involving Section 1 teams are slated to go off as originally scheduled.
Saturday is definitely going to be anything but shorts weather in Cortland. There’s a 40 percent chance of snow showers and it’s supposed to be in the upper 20’s when the North Rockland and Bronxville games start. Somers and Haldane will enjoy temperatures in the balmier low 30’s. –Nancy
Class AA state semifinal
North Rockland vs. Bethlehem Central (Section 2)
When: Saturday, 9:30 a.m.
Where: Tompkins Cortland Community College
Key players: North Rockland — Amber Alfonzo, Jr., M/F; Taylor Aylmer, Jr., M/F; Julianna Cabrera, Sr., M; Naya Rivera, So., M/F. Bethlehem — Miranda Manziano, Jr., GK; Holly Moore, Fr., CM; Kaylee Rickert, Sr., Striker
Outlook: The Eagles (14-4-2) are young and very much a Cinderella story, advancing to the state semis as Section 2’s sixth seed. Bethlehem is a good defensive team but the 20-1 Red Raiders’ speed will test it. The Red Raiders’ no-longer-secret weapon is Rivera’s chance-creating, goal-line throw-in. If she gets a few of these, it could be a long game for Bethlehem.
Up next: The winner will play the winner of Clarence (Section 6) and Massapequa (Section 8) Sunday at 9:30 a.m. at SUNY Cortland.
Notes: Eagles coach Tom Rogan noted his team includes multiple eighth- and ninth-graders. During its playoff run, it beat Section 2’s third-, second- and first-seeded teams. He said this was the first time a seed as low as six had made the state semis from that section. “It’s been a very unique run. … We have a pretty good team,” Rogan said. “Each, individual game we’re been able to follow our game plan.”
The game plan vs. the Red Raiders is pretty simple. Its execution may not be. “The key to the game will be our defensive organization, trying to keep them out of the goal, trying to limit their opportunities.” Rogan said.
But he knows that will be tough. In part, he said North Rockland is just physically bigger — much taller, on average, than his team.
And then there’s Rivera’s throws. Rogan has gotten a look.
Class A state semifinal
Somers vs. Jamesville-Dewitt (Section 3)
When: Saturday, 12:30 p.m.
Where: Tompkins Cortland Community College
Key players: Somers — Hayley Bonner, Sr., D; Hannon Eberts, Jr., M/F; Lizzy Hanley, Jr., GK; Michelle Wienecke, Sr., D; Jamesville-Dewitt — Alex Cantanzarite, So. M/F; Caroline Kopp, Sr., D; Paige Sherling, Jr., F/M
Outlook: Somers must come out strong and stay strong. That approach is why it’s two wins from a state title. Both teams are known for ball control and both are undefeated, But the Red Rams have been scoring a lot more lately, winning their last two playoff games by a combined 14-0. The Tuskers can win if they attack and if their defense, led by Wienecke, Bonner and the quick, aggressive Hanley, plays like it can.
Up next: The winner will play the winner of Mendon (Section 5) and Rockville Centre South Side (Section 8) Sunday at 12:15 p.m. at SUNY Cortland.
Class B state semifinal
Bronxville vs. Westhill (Section 3)
When: Saturday, 5 p.m.
Where: SUNY Cortland
Key players: Bronxville — Caitlyn Fryer, Sr., F; Lucy Kohlhoff, Sr.; F; Taylor Sears, Jr., D; Mason Warble, So., M. Westhill — Kelly Lippert, Sr., D; Jayanna Monds, So., F; Tatiana Monds, Sr., M.
Outlook: The 19-1-1 Warriors are the top-ranked B team in the state and dominated previously undefeated Beekmantown in their regional final. They have shut out four of their last five opponents, so the 19-1 Broncos have a challenge — putting the ball on net. Fryer, Kohlhoff, Rachael Peacock, Beth Finley and Fallon Raviol will have to use their speed and the Broncos will have to continue to create offense from their defense to prevail against a team known for controlling the ball.
Up next: The winner will play the winner of Aquinas Institute (Section 5) vs. Port Jefferson (Section 11) Sunday at 3 p.m. at SUNY Cortland.
Notes: Good defense has helped Westhill get this far, its coach, Lisa Dwyer, said. But that’s not the only factor. “We tried to take technical skill up a notch this year,” said Dwyer, who added, “Having possession of the ball is a big thing for us.”
The Warriors have watched lots of tape of the Broncos.
“They just have great first touches,” she said.
Dwyer said her club will try to force the Broncos to keep the ball on the ground.
“Just watching Fryer in the air is a concern for us,” she said. “She can kick the ball out of the air and put it in the goal.”
Class C state semifinal
Haldane vs. Avon (Section 5)
When: Saturday, 2:30 p.m.
Where: Cortland High School
Key players: Haldane — Missy Lisikatos, So., D; Bailey McCollum, Jr., M; Allie Monteleone, Sr., F. Avon — Abby Keenan, Sr., M; Kali Mouw, Sr., M; Brianna Richmond, Jr., D.
Outlook: It remains to be seen whether an extended layoff hurts the 14-4 Blue Devils. Avon (17-4-1) is on quite a roll, having won 13 straight games, including a 1-0 regional final win over defending state champ Holland, which knocked Haldane out last year. The question is whether Avon is as quick as Haldane, whose forwards and middies can motor.
Up next: The winner will play the winner of Schoharie (Section 2) and Lansing (Section 4) Sunday at 10:30 a.m. at SUNY Cortland.
Notes: Holland beat Haldane 2-1 in last year’s championship. “We would love to have played Holland for the revenge factor,” Blue Devils coach Gary Van Asselt noted.
Holland pressured Avon throughout the entire second half of their regional final but Avon “withstood.”
Van Asselt didn’t offer any game plan for beating Avon. Rather, he said, “It’s going to come down to a matter of will — who wants it more. We will leave it out on the field.