By MIKE SMITH
The Bronxville Broncos have won Section I in each of the past four years, but Sunday marked the first time in program history the Broncos were able to climb to the top of the Class C summit and claim a state title.
It wasn’t easy, though, as Bronxville trailed defending champ Cazenovia by two goals with just over 10 minutes to go. But a five-goal blitz by the Broncos—started by a Matt Behrens’ score—was enough to put them on top for good. They won 13-10.
Behrens had three goals and an assist on the day, while offensive MVP Henry Grass had two goals and five assists.
Bronxville’s defense, led by Charlie Tarry, forced 20 Cazenovia turnovers.
According to head coach Tim Horgan, the Broncos second-straight trip to the state title game—and their second meeting with Cazenovia—was vastly different from the first, considering this year’s squad had more big-game experience.
“Last year was the first year, and basically the goal was to get there,” Horgan said. “Last year, getting over that Long Island hump; that big win took a lot out of us and I don’t think we were mentally prepared for a team like Cazenovia.”
On Sunday, Bronxville beat Cazenovia at their own game, controlling ground balls and doing a great job on face-offs. Owen Jones and Liam Lynch combined to be masterful in the circle, Horgan said, and Bronxville’s depth proved to be a game-changer.
“It was hot, around 90 degrees on the turf, and facing off is just grueling,” Horgan said. “It’s tough on the body, tough on the legs and just the ability to have guys fresh out there really helped us out.”
The Broncos had a fairly easy run through the state playoffs, winning the first three games by an average of 11 goals. But their games in the regular season—both wins and losses against bigger schools like Mamaroneck—played a part in the Broncos’ ability to navigate late-game situations.
“Playing those tough teams, it kind of helps you develop as a squad,” he said. “Even losing tight games to big schools, you’re going to find whether your guys are going to fold or buy-in. Our guys learned from that.”
For Bronxville, a program that has been on the rise as of late, Sunday’s state title win is a watershed moment. But Horgan understands full well teams like this one don’t come along very often.
“It’s a great moment for us, the guys are happy, and I told them that this doesn’t happen every year,” he said. “Four section championships in a row, but this was a special, hard-working group.”
That dedication showed this week, as the Broncos have already started working toward next year’s goal of defending the title, holding their first practice for the summer season on June 11.
“Three days off, three days to celebrate the 2014 season, and the guys were ready to get back to work,” Horgan said. “Our goals will remain lofty as always.”