Lots of interesting match-ups and storylines set for the day. I can only be at one place at a time, unfortunately, but I plan to cover Albertus Magnus hosting Bronxville. The Class C semifinals that were postponed Wednesday will be played as well, so check out the predictions I made for them the previous night. Read on below for my quick analysis of every game.
No. 4 Clarkstown South at No. 1 John Jay-East Fishkill, 3 p.m.
John Jay-East Fishkill’s breadth of options both up front and on the defensive line were on full display in their 2-0 win over a very good Suffern squad on Tuesday, with star player Erin Theiller leading the way.
Clarkstown South, which got to this point with a hard-earned 1-0 OT win over Mamaroneck, has shown a penchant for being able to compete with top teams, with wins over the likes of Pearl River and Suffern during the regular season.
Prediction: This should be a very close match, but I think Clarkstown South has it in them to pull off at least one more upset.
No. 10 New Rochelle at No. 3 North Rockland, 3 p.m.
What a story New Rochelle has been these playoffs. After beating Ossining in the first round, the Lady Huguenots pulled the upset of the tournament so far, defeating a red-hot, second-seeded Scarsdale squad that hadn’t lost in 14 games to get to this point. Junior Sydney Jasper, who started the season as the team’s sweeper, has been a goal-scoring force since being moved up to forward.
North Rockland, the defending Class AA champs, looked like they might have been in trouble coming into the tournament with injuries to several key players, but seem to have found a new offensive weapon in eighth-grade JV call-up Kelly Brady, who already has three goals an an assist in her first two varsity games.
Prediction: As tempting as it is to pick New Rochelle to pull another upset, my brain tells me North Rockland’s experience of playing in big games such as this will prevail in the end.
No. 4 Harrison at No. 1 Somers, 3 p.m.
Harrison has gotten a pair of one-goal victories to get to this point, including winning its first-round game against Pelham in sudden-death overtime. The key players have been Erin Nelson and Gia Mancini, along with a defense led by goalkeeper Cailyn Burgos.
The Huskies, like most other teams, however, will have their work cut out for them against Somers. The Tuskers were unbeaten in the regular season (for the second straight year in a row), and have not let up in the sectionals. They are coming off of an 8-0 thrashing over eighth-seeded Lakeland in the quarterfinals, and are simply loaded up front.
Prediction: How can anyone pick against Somers at this point?
No. 3 Byram Hills vs. No. 2 Pearl River at World Class FC, 3 p.m.
One of the best match-ups for the entire day. After suffering some early losses and injuries, Byram Hills is peaking. The Bobcats are known for their senior core of Kelsey Goldring, Jessica Kennett and Sela Berenblum, but junior Ilyse Lipman has also been a very reliable goal-scorer.
Pearl River actually gave up a goal in its semifinal win over John Jay-Cross River, a rare non-shutout for the defense and top goalkeeper Lauren Gallagher. Offense has been a concern for the team at times, maybe even now, but they did put up three goals against John Jay, and seem to have a good amount of options when they get down to the offensive third.
Prediction: This a tough one to pick, but I think Pearl River’s defense will get the better of Byram Hills’ offense.
No. 5 Briarcliff at No. 1 Irvington, 3 p.m.
Briarcliff comes into this game off of an intense win over league and Mount Pleasant rival Pleasantville. The key player for the Bears is senior Lexi Grasso, who has a total of 26 goals this season. However, Irvington was able to shut her down on the final day of the regular season in a 2-0 win.
I didn’t take undefeated Irvington too seriously (playing a very weak schedule) until near the end of the regular season, when they got wins over Nanuet and Briarcliff. They only further cemented their status as legitimate title contender with a 5-1 thrashing over Ardsley in the quarterfinals. Zoe Maxwell, who had four goals an assist in that game, is one of the legitimate scoring stars in all of Section 1.
Prediction: Irvington beat Briarcliff the last time around, and I think the dream season will continue.
No. 3 Bronxville at No. 2 Albertus Magnus at World Class FC, 3 p.m.
Lots of intrigue in this match, which is a re-match from last year’s semifinal. This pits the usual usual contender (Bronxville) versus the upstart (Albertus Magnus).
Bronxville is the five-time defending Class B champ, but while this year’s squad was very strong, it is one that relies on quite a few underclassman, such as Beth Finley, Mason Warble and freshman Rachael Peacock.
This is the game that I bet the Falcons have been waiting for since the pre-season. They have been stopped by Bronxville in sectionals the past three years, but there are plenty of reasons to think Albertus Magnus can finally break through. A loaded senior class, led by offensive cogs Hope Kehoe and Carly Clinton, is the main feature of this team, and them and all of the other upperclassmen will be very hungry to get one over the Broncos in their final years of high school play.
Prediction: I really think that this is Albertus Magnus’ year; the senior leadership and experience the Falcons have will play a big role against a young Bronxville squad.