Mike Dougherty’s write-up on the game follows, with some extra notes from the two of us. The photos are by Chris Kitchen. –Nancy
CORTLAND There was no time for clock watching.
Bronxville was too busy scrambling to shut down a string of desperate runs in the final minutes of a 1-0 win over Westhill in a tense NYSPHSAA Class B semifinal on Saturday at SUNY Cortland. The Broncos grabbed the lead early then survived a scare late.
And they are just one victory away from another state title.
“They have some amazing players and I’m so happy it worked out for us, but it could’ve easily been them,” said Bronxville goalie Charley Warble. “It was a high-pressure game, but we were excited to come out and get the lead because it gave us a little bit of a fallback if something went wrong.”
It nearly did.
Beth Finley scored 15 minutes into the game (Finley shooting ball, top photo) on a lead-footed shot from 12 yards away. Mason Warble (photo below of Warble, 10, shooting) set up the goal with a well-placed long ball.
“That was a beautiful ball from Mason,” Finley said. “As soon as I got a touch on it, I just thought about hitting it as hard as I could. I was hoping it would go in, but I had a good feeling. Having the lead didn’t exactly give us a lot of comfort. The game was still stressful and then in the second half they came out very hard.”
A patchwork Broncos defense responded. Charlotte Schmuck, who plays center back, was home with mono, so the lineup was shuffled.
“We had to make some changes,” Bronxville coach Don Cupertino said. “Killian (Donohue) usually plays midfield, but we slid her back to defense. And we moved an outside defender, Natalie Kister, into the middle. They did a good job.”
There was one breathless moment as Charley Warble came hustling out to confront a threat midway through a high-intensity second half.
She went low to knock down a pass, but the ball deflected off her outstretched arm directly to Westhill’s Dana Radin. The net was open. Radin quickly took aim, but she pushed the ball wide and it sailed well right of the near post.
“That was really scary,” the senior goal keeper said. “I read the bounce and it came up weirdly, so I only got one hand on it and the ball went right to her. Unfortunately for her, but luckily for us, she happened to spray it wide. It could’ve been the equalizer that changed the game.”
The Broncos (20-1) return Sunday at 3 p.m. to play Section 11 champion Port Jefferson, which defeated Aquinas on penalty kicks.
Notes: Westhill goalie Ariana Henneberry kept her team in the game. Her best save came with 10:59 left in the first half, as she snared the ball right before it crossed the line with a diving, twisting grab. … Mason Warble is a sophomore but plays older than her years. At one point, she made a great move to the outside, then cut back inside and unleashed a shot that went just wide left. … Tatiana Monds created some scoring chances for Westhill with nice crossing passes but they somehow just eluded her teammates. … Two times in the last three minutes of the game, Lucy Kohlhoff gobbled up important seconds from the clock by effectively playing keep-away with the ball in the corner, although double-teamed. … Of Radin’s shot, Finley said, “My heart stopped for a second.” … Bronxville last won the state championship in 2010. A year later, it fell in the semis.