Tigers rip Rams in first round

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Shari Rauls battles a Ram defender for the ball. Early scoring opened the floodgates for the Tigers.
Photos/Mike Smith

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.

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Jess Degina blasts a shot for Mamaroneck’s first goal of the game. Mamaroneck beat the Rams 5-0.

“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.

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Erin McClave controls the ball against Port Chester on Oct. 26. McClave led the Tigers with two goals on the day.

“They beat the second-seed, Clarkstown South, during the year,” the head coach said. “We know they are going to be good.”

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Olivia Rodrigues brings the ball upfield against the Rams. Mamaroneck’s next opponent will be top-seeded North Rockland.

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.”
Contact: sports@hometwn.com

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About Mike Smith

Mike Smith has been with Hometown Media Group since 2007, serving as the company’s Sports Editor. Mike has been commended for his work by the New York Press Association, winning awards in 2008 for “Best Sports Feature” and again in 2009 as part of a team that put together “The Game,” a breakdown of the Harrison-Rye football rivalry, which won for “Best Special Section.” His weekly column, “Live Mike,” offers his unique insights into a broad range of topics in the sports world. He resides in Eastchester, N.Y. and spends most of his free time serving as the player-manager for a competitive men’s baseball team in New York City. Reach Mike at 914-653-1000 x22 or sports@hometwn.com; follow him on Twitter @LiveMike_Sports.