LaGRANGEVILLE – Last year, Somers had few believers. This year, who doesn’t believe?
The defending state-champion Tuskers increased their two-year record to 42-0 Saturday.
The bigger story was that the top seed did so by defeating No. 2 Pearl River 2-0 to repeat as Section 1 Class A champions.
And if it’s possible to have a bigger story than that consider that senior Hannon Eberts, who five months ago was “devastated” when told she faced possible surgery and likely would miss her senior season after breaking her left ankle, scored both Somers goals.
“It’s been amazing,” Eberts said.
“We have a one-game-at-a-time mindset that really helps. We’re looking forward to what comes up in the future for us,” said Jenna Menta, who assisted on the second goal.
What immediately will come up is a first-round regional game Tuesday against the Section 9 winner at 3:30 p.m. at Tappan Zee High School.
Player of the game: Eberts dominated in the offensive end, using speed on the outside that showed her ankle is healthy. “They stretched the game out. That allows her to do what she does best,” said Pearl River coach Tim Peabody, whose team finishes 16-2-2.
Turning point: It was Somers’ tenacity and some luck that accounted for what proved to be the winning goal. Georgetown-bound Pirate goalie Lauren Gallagher, who denied Eberts multiple times, including with a skying punch save of a ball heading under the crossbar, made an initial save on Eberts in tight but the ball stayed in bounds to Gallagher’s left. Katrina Kurtz hustled and retrieved it for Somers and then passed back to Eberts, who left her feet just a little to head the ball past Gallagher with 9:23 left in the first half.
Stat line: Somers goalie Lizzie Hanley, who was helped by Claire Mensi’s and Mary Murphy’s strong defensive play, had five saves. Gallagher, whose saves included a spectacular second-half, diving stop on Ciara Ostrander, finished with 15 saves. But she couldn’t stop a beautifully executed give-and-go between Menta and Eberts, with Eberts burying a left-footed shot with 28:27 left.
Quotables: “We didn’t have the legs for a speedy game,” said Peabody, whose team also fell to Somers in last year’s sectionals. “We just didn’t have it. But I give credit to them. They took advantage and are an experienced, quality group.” Of his goalie, he added, “She’s tremendous. Fortunately, she’s one of our strong points but we didn’t want her to be one of our strong points today.”