CORTLAND, N.Y. -- Shoreham-Wading River is down and far too close to out. It's halftime and it is trailing by three in the Class C state final against Honeoye Falls-Lima. It looks overmatched, and it just found out it will be a player down for the rest of the game. Perhaps most damning, when the girls walk off the field, their heads are bowed and their shoulders are hunched.
"I let the girls in first and me and the coaches had to stand outside the locker room and take a breather," coach Mary Bergmann said. "We go, 'OK, what's the plan?' Because we needed to go into that locker room with a plan."
So what do you say to motivate a group of girls who are staring down a crushing loss? Well, according to Bergmann and her players, this:
"We could come back because of the game [Friday] against Christian Brothers Academy," said Alex Fehmel, referencing a matchup in which CBA nearly tied the score despite playing up to six players down. "Anything was possible."
"We were not going home with a loss," Meredith Bushell said.
"Don't rush it," Bergmann said. "Don't force it. Chip away, chip away, chip away.''
And finally, though maybe she didn't say the words, Bergmann basically said, "I have a plan." Shoreham would be aggressive and protective -- using four attackers, four defenders and only two midfielders. "Play hard, play smart," she said. "I know we are the better team.''
Perhaps it wasn't ground-breaking, but players said those words went a long way toward lifting heads and straightening shoulders. The comeback, an 11-9 win, seemed almost inevitable, Fehmel said.
"It all happened in that locker room when we went in," goalie Lauren Daly said. "We were down when we went in and pumped each other back up."