By MIKE SMITH
Brigid Knowles might not be the biggest name on the Mamaroneck field hockey team, but on Nov. 15, the freshman came up with the biggest play of the Tigers’ season. Burying a rebound chance against Ward Melville, Knowles broke a scoreless tie
in double overtime, giving Mamaroneck its second straight state title.
Not too bad for an underclassmen who started the season on the junior varsity team.
“I don’t know if I expected her to end the game,” Mamaroneck coach John Savage said. “But I knew she was going to put us in a position where she could help us win it. It’s what she’s done every day this year.”
Knowles’ goal came with 2:46 left in the second overtime period on Sunday, in a game that was as tough as the Tigers had been involved in all season. Ward Melville came into the contest with just one loss
on the season and topped a strong Shenendehowa team 1-0 in the state semis.
“It was a war,” Savage said. “They were fast, they had good stick skills and we knew it was going to be a good game.”
The Patriots proved to be lighting quick, in fact, but tremendous effort from Mamaroneck’s junior goalie Charlotte Mackie kept them off the stat sheet. Mackie made 10 saves on the day, including six saves on corners and a game-saving stop on a breakaway by Kerri Thornton in the second over-time period.
“That was Charlotte’s best performance, even going back to last season,” Savage said. “That was an All-Section performance and she stopped just about every type of shot you can think of.”
The state finals win was Mamaroneck’s 20th of the season, but that wasn’t the only number of note. It also marked Savage’s 300th career victory, a milestone he was proud to share with this particular group.
“I didn’t tell them anything before the game, I just wanted them to go out and play,” he said. “But once we won, I told them, and I told them I was so glad that it was this team that got me that honor.”
Early in the season, Savage felt that there were some internal confidence issues on the team; however, seeing them overcome that trepidation was quite rewarding for the longtime coach.
“In the beginning of the year, I think some of the kids were hearing about how much we’d lost and they doubted themselves,” he said. “But to watch them reach this pinnacle, this was a special group.”
With 10 seniors graduating this spring, Savage expects to have a much younger team in 2016. But with the experience this group attained during their 20-1 campaign this year, Savage said he expects big things.
“I think they’ll be ready to do whatever it takes to get back here,” he said. “That mindset, it’s something you can’t buy, it comes from the kids, and they’ll be ready to do battle next year.”