A Successful Season for the Raider's Field Hockey Team


You can be champions without winning the championship trophy; that was the lasting gift the 2010 Raiders field hockey team gave to us. The team had its best year in over a decade, finishing with 15 wins, 3 losses and 2 ties. While the double overtime loss to defending Section A champion Mamaroneck was disappointing, that game will go down in Raiders history as one of the most exciting and hard fought contests of all time. In the playoffs the team displayed their resilience and, more importantly, showcased all that they had learned. They were a team that supported each other throughout the year, both on the field and off. They played hard, they played clean and they played for the love of the sport.

The season saw the emergence of talents at all levels. The senior tri-captains, goalie Emily Knapp and midfielders Kathryn Peruski and Carly Levine, set the tone for the team – serious during the game, and fun after the game.

Margot Ehrlich came into her own as a top scorer and freshman Caroline Knapp finished the season as the second leading goal scorer and as the assist leader. The defense, led by Ciera Howard and Lia Cromwell and ably assisted by Hannah Duggen, Kiki Yewer and Julia Mayer, often stood as a block. The offense, including freshman Sydney Malsch and Katie Colella, who helped to open up opponent’s defenses.

The highlights were many. First and foremost, this was the team that gave Coach Rosenthal her 100th win, in a game against White Plains. Who can forget the magic when junior Victoria Green stepped onto the field and scored a rare hat trick, or senior Julia Hirsch’s two-goal trick in one game after having scored goals in two other games, as a substitute forward?

Then there was the picture perfect passing that resulted in the equalizing goal against perennial powerhouse Briarcliff. Ehrlich's clever pass through the defender's legs was gathered in by Knapp who then whipped her own crossing pass in front of the net, just beyond the reach of the last defender, for a streaking Malsch to one-time past the diving keeper and into the back of the net. The three titanic battles against archrival Mamaroneck need to be added to the list as well.

A quick recap of the Sectionals is in order. The Raiders went in as the Section A third seed and overcame a determined Carmel team in the first round by a 4 to 2 margin. Next up was Fox Lane in the quarterfinals, where the 2009 Raiders were knocked out of the competition. This year proved to be different with Scarsdale holding on for a 1-0 victory. Goals were scarce as the potent offense was having difficulty finding the net. Yet, in this game the defense stepped forward and did not break.

The team advanced to the semifinals where they faced second seeded John Jay of East Fishkill. The two teams battled each other unrelentingly for the entire sixty minutes of regulation time. With no goals for either team, the game moved into sudden death overtime. Supremely confident of their inevitable victory and having won the coin toss, John Jay elected to give the Raiders the first possession. It proved to be a fatal error, as John Jay never got the ball back. Led by Peruski and Levine, the Raiders marched down the field, eventually securing a penalty corner. Malsch inserted the ball to Peruski then dashed toward the net in time to lift Peruski’s shot past the goalie. Sudden death took only 90 seconds and the joyous Raiders raced onto the field to pile up in a victory celebration.

For the first time in over a decade, Scarsdale was in the finals, which were held at Manhattanville College on November 7. This time the underdog Raiders faced Mamaroneck for the Section A championship. They met on a cold, windy day for a memorable game. Though Scarsdale played with passion, Mamaroneck drew first blood with a wicked shot off a penalty corner that slammed into the lower left corner of the net. Six minutes into the second half, Peruski returned the favor with an identical blast off a Scarsdale corner. The game settled into a desperate struggle as each side looked for a way to avoid overtime.

Overall, the offensive chances began to favor Mamaroneck. The Raiders were finding it difficult to create good scoring opportunities from their counter-attacks. With her fearless play in the net and her able direction of the defense, Knapp kept Raider hopes alive against the ever-increasing Mamaroneck onslaught and forced the game into overtime. With everything on the line, each team looked for a chance to score. Again, though, Mamaroneck created the better scoring chances Knapp foiled every attack with a seemingly never-ending series of sparkling and acrobatic saves. With seconds left in the first overtime period, Knapp forced a second overtime period by denying a two on none breakaway. With three and a half minutes gone in the second overtime period and yet another penalty corner called against Scarsdale, Knapp made a sliding save on a hard bouncing shot from the top of the circle, upending an attacking Mamaroneck forward in the process. Unfortunately, the loose ball was then fired past her desperation dive and eluded a Scarsdale defender before banging into the back of the goal.

With that, the Raiders season ended. They were runners up to the Section A Championship.

It would be wrong to let the result of this final game define the season or the team. The 2010 Raiders team was inspirational and credit should be given to their remarkable coaches, Sharon Rosenthal and Genette Zonghetti. The players believed in themselves and went farther than anyone had hoped. They understood that when one needed help, their teammates would be there. They never gave up, and they never feared a more skilled or seasoned opponent.

They also knew how to have fun, whether it was at team breakfasts, crazy game day dress ups or their song and video presentations at the annual flockey dinner. Finally, they knew that there were things beyond field hockey that were worthy of support, as they showed by their participation in the Walk for the Cure, sponsored by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

In the end, they reminded us all of the great things that can be achieved by working together and trusting each other. While the season did not end as they had hoped, they represented Scarsdale with pride and distinction.

Contributor Charles Knapp is a Scarsdale Raiders Field Hockey parent.