By S. Quinn DeJoy and J. Murrer
Nov. 20, 2019: The Bronxville field hockey team traveled to the western end of the state last weekend to compete in the New York State Championships. The game time temperatures were below freezing, and the boundaries of the field at Alden High School were piled high with snow, but the Broncos managed to shut out Barker High School 2-0 in the semifinal game to move on to the state final.
The Class C final game on Sunday against Section 2’s Johnstown proved to be a defensive battle, but the Broncos prevailed over the Lady Bills with a narrow 1-0 victory. It was the first New York State Championship for the Bronxville field hockey team since 1994.
One of the Broncos’ goals this season was to score early in each game, and in the state final, they did just that. Six and a half minutes into the first half, Sunday Ladas scored on a penalty corner, and remarkably, it would be the only goal of the game.
“Johnstown had possession a lot of the game and put up a really good fight,” said Ladas, “but I think we hustled and wanted it so much that we capitalized the first chance we got.”
The Broncos scoring their first and only goal in the state championship game. Photo by David Fenner.
A strong Bronco defense was a key part of the team’s success. Johnstown pressured Bronxville the entire game, but the Bronco defense was up to the challenge.
Three-year goalie Caitlin Mooney had the best game of her career, staying calm even though Johnstown had possession for a large part of the game. In the first half alone, Mooney stopped 14 shots.
“It was really touch and go the whole time,” said Mooney. “ There wasn’t a moment when we thought we were safe, but that kept us motivated.”
Caitlin Mooney (3) defending the goal. Photo by David Fenner.
Mooney was aided by a strong defense. Molly Denning, Madison Meehan, Hailey Mullen, and Grace McSherry worked hard to fend off Johnstown’s pressure throughout the game, but especially in the second half.
“Our defense was rock solid throughout the whole game,” said McSherry. “We have such great chemistry. The ball was in the circle a lot of the time, and it was kind of a frenzy, but the defense was able to work like a well-oiled machine.”
Hailey Mullen (17), Cassidy Mullen (16), Sunday Ladas (8), Caitlin Mooney (3), and Grace McSherry (12). Photo by David Fenner
Under the leadership of Coach Jacquelyn Frawley, the Bronxville field hockey team made it to the state final four in 2011, 2014, and 2016, but the Broncos had always lost in the semifinal game. In this year’s semifinal game against Barker, Bronxville eighth-grader Julia Widen stepped up and scored both goals in the shutout, finally sending the Broncos to the state championship game.
For her stellar defensive performance in the state final four, Caitlin Mooney was named to the All-Tournament Team along with forward Sunday Ladas and center midfielder Hanna Bishop. Grace McSherry was honored with the Sportsmanship award.
Center: Hanna Bishop (24), who was named to the All-Tournament Team. Photo by David Fenner
The Bronco team has ten seniors, but the remainder of the team draws talent from all different grades. It is a tribute to the coaching staff that the girls of all ages work so well together.
“We have all grades, including one 8th grader and ten seniors, but we all bond really well together,” said Ladas. “Kudos to Coach Frawley because she has us doing running games and bonding games during conditioning, and I think that makes us closer as a team on and off the field.”
The Broncos wearing state championship medals and T-shirts. Photo by David Fenner.
Coach Frawley has been part of a state championship team once before, but the last time as a player. While being coached by her mother, Barbara Deppe, at John Jay East Fishkill, Frawley and her teammates won the state title in 2002.
“We love our coaches,” said Mooney. “I have known Coach Frawley since elementary school during gym class. She brings our team together and is an incredible coach.”
The admiration goes both ways.
“I feel blessed to have been able to work with these 21 student-athletes for the past three months,” said Frawley, “and the saying, ‘hard work does pay off’ holds true for all the girls this season!”
The Broncos celebrate the win over Johnstown. Photo by David Fenner.
SEE VIDEO OF BRONCOS RETURN FROM THE STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS. The video is posted on the MHTB Facebook page.
See gallery of photos below. Photos by D. Fenner