In the opening round of the Section 1 Class C tournament, Irvington's young program took a huge step by winning its first playoff game.
Now, they’ve won two.
The No. 3-seeded Bulldogs (15-3) held off No. 6-seeded Putnam Valley, 16-14, to advance to the semifinals. Irvington will host No. 7-seeded Byram Hills on Monday.
“Words can’t describe how I feel right now," senior Nikki Chernick said. "I’ve seen anyone work harder than my coach (Pat DiBenedetto) and the other girls on my team. We started a winter league last year and we’ve been practicing all year round. This is the outcome of all that hard work.”
Irvington was led by Kristen Palese’s eight goals and one assist. Ciara Morley (three assists) and Maddy Derose (one assist) each had a hat trick. Chernick played the role of distributor with four assists and also added a goal.
The Bulldogs took a two-goal lead with approximately eight minutes remaining and did everything they could to maintain possession.
“We fought for possession during the draw and just played keep away,” Chernick said. “If they happened to get a goal, we just fought back and answered it.”
Despite being happy about its second playoff win, Irvington isn’t done yet.
“We definitely belong here," Chernick said. "We just have to keep playing as a team. That's our strength. Coach (DiBenedetto) says to 'empty our tank' on the field and that’s what we’re going to do against Byram Hills.”