Coming into Saturday’s first round matchup between No. 2-seeded Scarsdale (14-3) and No. 15-seeded Ketcham (4-10-3), the Raiders girls soccer team knew how important the game was.
Yes, Scarsdale was the higher seed and was supposed to win, but that was the case last year when the Raiders were upset at home against Yorktown in penalty kicks.
In fact, for three straight years, the Raiders had not won a playoff game, with two of the losses being major upsets. The Raiders needed a win and needed one badly.
“It was so important to win this game,” captain Sam Ezratty said. “Last year, our team was almost as good as this year’s team and we lost in PKs. That loss was just so upsetting. We had to win this game — losing was just not an option.”
Through what would become a thick and heavy snowfall, Scarsdale answered the call with a 5-1 victory, effectively ending their curse and advancing to the Section 1 Class AA quarterfinals.
Kate Hennessy led the way with two goals in the first half and an assist in the second half. Charlotte Miller assisted Hennessy on her first goal just two minutes into the game and then joined in on the fun in the second half, scoring two goals of her own.
“For us to break this curse is so amazing,” Miller said. “Since my freshman year we’ve lost every playoff game. To get over this hump is just such a huge accomplishment. This game means everything to us.”
Hennessy, who was all over the field, had a different perspective on the win.
“I’m a senior, but this is my first year on the team,” she said. “I’ve heard so much about these past few years and I really just wanted to do everything I could to help us get a victory. I’m really happy I could get us going early and help end the curse.”
Scarsdale led 2-0 at the half, but Ketcham would not quit. Thirteen minutes into the second half, Ketcham was given a free kick in Scarsdale territory and senior Brianna Quijano headed in a beautiful pass from fellow senior Kelsey Malles to pull Ketcham within one.
But the Raiders would not be denied, as Miller scored just four minutes later to extend the lead. Ezratty then fired a rocket from long range to all but seal the game.
“You could see how much we really wanted this win,” Scarsdale coach Mindy Genovese said. “We talked about getting to the ball first, winning all the 50-50 balls and possessing the ball when we could. (RCK) came out tough, though. The first half was pretty even, I think. But we made some adjustments for the second half and came away with the win.
“With 14 seniors this year, I think the girls just took it amongst themselves to decide ‘We need to get passed this curse.’ I’m very proud of them.”
Scarsdale will host the winner of No. 7 Mamaroneck and No. 10 Ossining in the quarterfinals on October 31. With the playoff losing streak well behind them, the Raiders feel they are the team to beat.
“This was so important, the way that we broke through," said junior Sarah Frohman, who held down Scarsdale’s defensive unit. “It shows how we’ve matured and how we’ve come together as a team. It shows how much we want to win and we’re not going to give up until we get it. We’re going all the way.”
Email Jordan Griffith at JGriffit@cablevision.com | Follow him on Twitter @MSGV_JGriffith