Hopper, Riverdale jump over Poly
Madeline Hopper is one of the younger players on the Riverdale roster. But in terms of lacrosse playing experience, the sophomore is already a veteran.
Hopper got playing time on the Riverdale varsity as an eighth grader to replace an injured teammate. The attacker never left the starting lineup, and her 49 goals was instrumental to the Falcons winning the NYSAISAA championship last year.
Saturday afternoon was an opportunity for Hopper to pile up some more goals. She scored a game-high nine goals as the Falcons rebounded from an opening day loss to the Blue Devils to record a 14-10 victory in Bay Ridge.
Riverdale, ranked No. 2 in New York City by MSG Varsity, made sure to erase the bad memories of losing a five-goal advantage to Ivy-opening loss to Poly Prep. The Falcons would eventually lose that home game, 13-12.
“It was unreal, like nothing else,” Hopper said. “We tied them for second place so it’s nothing compared to that. This is such a quality win. We haven’t had a quality win all season. To be able to come back on their Founder’s Day by four goals, on their field, it’s unbelievable.”
Riverdale (6-2) was quicker with the ball and more fluid with passes and runs throughout the contest. Hopper had five of her six goals at the end of the first half, but the Falcons couldn’t shake off No. 1 Poly Prep as the game was tied at 6-all at the break.
Riverdale coach Carol Pouliot noticed the intense man-marking the Poly Prep defense was doing on star midfielder Lindsay Picard, who was held to just three goals. Hopper picked up the scoring slack as her darting quick runs past the back of the Blue Devils defense proved too much for the hosts to handle.
She’s got a little stick in her craw,” Puliot said. “She didn’t have a good first game against Poly, in her eyes, so today she came out to prove herself. She knows how to trap, knows how to weave and gets through people.”
The Falcons cleaned up the loose balls they allowed, and remained patient when the goals weren’t coming their way. Blue Devils freshman goalie Ovie Kabba turned away three close range shots in a row and it led to Samantha Domurat scoring on a wraparound with 11:50 left in the contest to cut the deficit to 11-9.
Picard and Hopper recorded back-to-back goals to increase the lead to 13-9 with 9:31 left in the second half. Riverdale defender Isabella Bertagna, and other defenders teamed up to do a fine job holding Northwestern-bound senior Jessica Dahldorf to just two goals. Freshman goalkeeper Janey Hendrickson made some fine saves late in the game for the Falcons.
“We just didn’t have the energy today,” said Poly Prep coach Anni Zukauskas.
Pouliot says her team must carry the positives from the win to remain in the hunt for a division title against the likes of Hackley, who they lost 12-10 this season, as well as Fieldston.
“I’ve been talking about what a quality win is to them. It’s been Poly, Hackley and Riverdale neck and neck the last few years and this year we haven’t captured that win,” Pouliot said. “I talked about the girls getting the quality win. Now we got one and go back at Hackley and see if we can get that one.”