BRONXVILLE – Throughout the first the first 20 minutes of Thursday’s Class C semifinal against Croton, the Bronxville field hockey team wasn’t satisfied with the way the game had opened. That changed when players headed to the sidelines for a pep talk from head coach Jackie Frawley.
The conversation during the timeout lit a fire under the second-seeded Broncos as they scored three unanswered goals on their way to a 3-1 win.
“We didn’t have a lot of energy in the beginning of the game,” said senior forward Lilly Grass. “We just had our pep talk and eventually we found our groove.”
No. 3 Croton (13-3-1) took a 1-0 lead with 14:43 left in the first half when Teagan Burke put in a goal off an assist from Victoria Lewis. With 10:36 left, Bronxville needed time to talk things over.
“Our coaches just told us to shake it off, that one goal is nothing,” said senior defender Brennan O’Toole. “We knew were dominating and that we’d be able to change the score, because it wasn’t reflecting how we were playing. We just went out with a strong mindset after that.”
From that point on, the Broncos (14-3-1) dominated possession with a ferocious attack, wearing down the Tigers’ defense until Grass finally broke through with a goal off a rebound to tie the game with 2:38 left in the half.
“It brought us back into the game,” Frawley said of Grass’ first goal. “Coming from behind after being down, it’s a mental game and it’s hard. Getting back even mentally puts you back into the game and that’s where they need to be before they can play physically.”
In the second half, the Broncos utilized crisp passing and strong defense to maintain possession and earn scoring opportunities. Defenders O’Toole, Caroline Kraemer and Hadley Barr helped limit the Tigers’ chances.
“The ball spent a lot more time on our defensive end, so it was hard for us to clear it,” said Croton coach Dorothy Perrone. “They’re a really good team and our girls were focused, but we had a difficult time bringing it up the field.”
Junior forward Mia Bettino broke the tie with 12:53 left off an assist from Grass. Grass added an insurance goal assisted by Caroline DePaul with 4:45 left.
Croton goalkeeper Maddy Camillieri did all she could to stave off a relentless Bronxville offense, finishing with 18 saves.
“That’s what we’ve really been focused on recently, finding out how we can get those wide shots in,” said O’Toole. “I mean, I’m a defender and I’m up there with the offense a lot, so that’s a testament to how much we want to score.”
This comeback win will give the Broncos confidence as they continue to vie for their second straight Section I Class C title, but the players know better than to look past any opponent.
“It’s always nice to move on, but you just never know what to expect,” said O’Toole. “We’re going to go in very cautious, but play our best. You can’t expect to win the next game, you’ve got to earn it.”