By MIKE SMITH
If the match-up between the eighth and ninth seeds are supposed to produce some of the best drama in the Section I playoffs, that message was lost on the Mamaroneck Tigers. On Oct. 26, the eighth-seeded Tigers knocked off ninth-seeded Port Chester in a 5-0 rout.
Erin McClave led the Tigers with two goals and an assist in an offensive explosion for a Tiger team that has, at times, struggled to find the net.
“We’ve been playing some really good ball since midseason, but the only thing we haven’t done is finish,” Tigers coach Ron Blain said. “Some games, we’ll put 28 shots on goal and have nothing to show for it, so it’s all about finishing.”
Finishing certainly wasn’t a problem for the Tigers in their first-round match-up as the goals came early and often against a Rams team that struggled to stay in the game. Although Blain hopes the performance is a sign of things to come, he said the early goals may have given the Tigers some much-needed confidence that led to the scoring deluge.
“The one thing about scoring is that, a lot of the time, it comes in bunches,” Blain said. “Some games, where you don’t get that goal early, you’re playing a little tighter, more prone to making mistakes.”
The Tigers will certainly have no room for error when they take on their second-round opponent on Oct. 28. The Tigers will square off against top-seeded North Rockland, which is coming off a laugher of their own, a 7-1 shellacking of White Plains.
Although the Tigers traditionally play the Red Raiders in a non-league contest, they didn’t have North Rockland on the schedule this year. Even without seeing them, however, Blain and the Tigers are certainly aware of the Red Raiders’ skill level.
“They beat the second-seed, Clarkstown South, during the year,” the head coach said. “We know they are going to be good.”
According to Blain, the difference-maker in the game will likely be Mamaroneck’s work on the defensive side of the ball, as they will be tasked with stopping the offensive-minded Red Raiders.
“Defensively, we’re going to have to hone our skills, we can’t have any mishaps,” Blain said. “We’ve got to mark tight and have our sweeper ready go if one of our players gets beaten. We’ve also got to work on bringing our midfield back. It’s going to be one of those games where we’re going to have to work twice as hard.”