Here are some of the leftover quotes and details from Ward Melville's dramatic 4-3 double-overtime win over Smithtown East in the Suffolk Class A semifinal on Monday. The game was won by Mary Brigid Coughlan, a defender, who scored with 8:36 left in the second OT.
Deryn Blaney, on a fast break with seconds left in the first overtime, collided with Smithtown East goalie Ericka Parks at the top of the circle and went down with an injured left knee. Mary Brigid Coughlan isn’t usually part of the overtime 7-on-7 group, but Blaney being out led to her subbing in.
The collision: "She did a double-leg stack, which was an awesome save, but I sort of tweaked my knee. It wasn’t her fault. It just happened."
The knee: "It doesn’t feel too bad. It’s a little sore, but I’ll be OK."
During the timeout before the second overtime, Blaney pleaded with trainer Jen Chimienti to clear her for re-entry. Despite her best entreaties, Chimienti “wanted to play it safe” and insisted that she sit out and ice the knee. “I’m a really competitive person and I never, ever want to sit out during a competition. I wanted to get back out there with my team.”
Beating Smithtown East: “It feels great. We worked so hard to come back in the game, we deserved it.”
Mary Brigid Coughlan, the unlikely goal-scorer. The defender scored the winner with 8:36 left in double-overtime.
The goal: "It’s my first goal so I was really excited… I figured since the goalie came out, the more girls up [field] the better and everyone was swinging at the ball. Whoever gets it in, gets it in."
First thought after scoring: "Hearing the ball hit the boards is the best feeling in the world, especially in double-overtime."
Subbing in for Blaney: "She’s a great player and it was a little nerve-racking going in, but I gave it all I had. I’m so happy we were able to come out of this with the win."
Kim Geiger scored with 17:49 left in the first half to give Ward Melville a 2-1 lead.
The win: “It’s the best feeling. A lot of people underestimated us, saying that counties would be between Smithtown East and Sachem East. We stepped up and showed them that we’re here… We’ve been thinking about this for a week. We’ve practiced every day, pushing ourselves. We didn’t want to have to play two overtimes, but we still came out with the win.”
(Random question) Can you tell the difference between goalie Andre’ Bongiorno and her identical twin sister Abigail? “Absolutely. Andre’ has the more mature face. She’s older by a minute or two and it shows a little.”
The game and its dramatic finish: "It was like nothing else. It just kept going and going. We were doing a good job [offensively] but we just couldn’t finish. But when we finally did, it was awesome."
Reaction to Coughlan scoring: “I was amazed. I was so happy for ‘Mib.’ It’s her first goal. I dropped my stick and went crazy.”
Defender Lindsay McCulloch
(McCulloch is an avid waver.)
Any post-game celebration? “We don’t have to run tomorrow, which is exciting. That’s our celebration.”
Facing Sachem East again. The Flaming Arrows beat Ward Melville 4-0 in both regular season meetings. “We’re confident. Even though we lost to them, 4-0, we know we can win. It was mental lapses. We just have to focus, and this game [Smithtown East] definitely helps with building momentum.”
Vanessa Pryor, tied the score at 3 with 12:34 remaining. She fired the ball from the top of the circle and it deflected off a defender’s stick and bound high into the left corner of the cage.
Reaction to Coughlan’s goal: “The feeling after ‘Mib’ scored… Man! Our little defender, we never expected it from her. To see such a young girl go from never playing field hockey, to becoming a great player, to winning a game like this, I’m so happy for her. We love her, and she’s such a modest kid.”
Going back to the Suffolk Class A finals: “I’m ready. I’m so ready for finals. I think our team needs a little more work, but we’ll get there. I can’t wait.”
Mood of the team during its struggles. After having a 2-1 lead, Ward Melville fell behind, 3-2, and was under constant pressure from the Bulls, who drew 22 penalty corners. “It was just mental mistakes and we knew we could get back in it. It wasn’t so much or play or our skills, it was mental errors. Once we got that corrected, we got back in.”
Patriots coach Shannon Watson
Beating Smithtown East, a longtime rival: “I think it’s the timing of the game that means so much to the kids and myself. It’s going to counties, so it’s huge no matter who it’s against.”
Difficult game: “Smithtown East came out very strongly against us. We kind of got into our own in the middle of the second half.”
The number of penalty corners. Smithtown East drew 22 and Ward Melville had 13, though seven of the Patriots’ came in overtime. ”I’m so proud of our goalie and defensive unit for being able to hang in there. And our other players, who were able to continuously do those sprints back and forth.”
Coughlan’s goal: “She had a great overall game. In overtime we want to keep fresh legs in there. It happened to be with someone going down with an injury, but we were confident in her stepping in there. I’m just so proud and excited for her.”
The defender scoring the winning goal: “In overtime, if you can get to the ball, you’re on attack. That has to be the mentality, and that’s why she pushed up as far as she did. And she’s got the speed to get back [should Smithtown East have regained possession].”