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2003 season – Mamaroneck

Prior to the 2003 season, Mamaroneck was a continuing work in progress under coach John Savage.

The Tigers were progressing, recording at least a .500 record and qualifying for sectionals each year. However, as Savage pointed out, Mamaroneck was stuck in neutral in sectionals. The Tigers qualified, but first-round games proved to be a stumbling block. This changed with the 2003 regular season and sectionals.

Mamaroneck earned a top three seed and won its first two sectional games, setting up a Class A semifinal with Lakeland at Putnam Valley. The result was the most memorable sectional game of that postseason as Lakeland overcame Mamaroneck, 5-4 in ovetime. Even though it was a heartbreaking loss (Mamaroneck finished 14-2-3 on the season), it showed that Mamaroneck had arrived as an emerging Section 1 power. It also motivated the Tigers who returned in 2004 and began a run that has brought Mamaroneck to among the top programs in Section 1 and in New York.

Mamaroneck would meet Lakeland in the Class A championship game and emerge with a 1-0 victory. The Tigers claimed their first regional title as K.J. Warren scored on a penalty stroke in a 1-0 victory over Ward Melville on their way to the state championship, becoming the first Mamaroneck varsity team to achieve this honor. Mamaroneck won its second consecutive sectional title in 2005 and advanced to the Class A state final. Mamaroneck reached the sectonal finals in 2006 and ’07 and this season added its third sectional championship and third berth in the state final four.

Savage recalled the 2003 Lakeland game with clarity.

“We were trailing 3-1 when I called a time out and told the girls ‘I can either back up the bus or you can show Lakeland what you are made of,’ ” said Savage, Mamaroneck’s coach since 1996. “We scored three goals in a row to go up 4-3 with four minutes remaining in the game.

“Even though the final result was a negative, we used it as a positive because it hurt so bad. I take responsibility for the loss though, because I didn’t have the girls practice 7 v. 7 and I promised I would never let that happen again.”

Savage said following the bus ride home that night, the whole team went out and practiced once more together. Once Savage and assistant coach Tricia Miller saw this, they knew the team did not want the season to end.

“The girls began having dinners and going to movies even after the season ended,” Savage said. “The girls put in the extra time, playing winter league and summer league. The girls wanted the season to start they day after the Lakeland game.”

Savage and Miller were fortunate to have an outstanding senior class for the 2004 season and talented group of underclassmen. The seniors (that I can remember) included Alexis and Jillian Cotugno, who played wing and defense,  respectively. Katie Devaney (who played field hockey at Georgetown) was an excellent two-way center midfielder and Katherine Sampson was a lockdown outside back. Mamaroneck also had two great outside midfielders in junior Midori Uehara (who is playing at Stanford) and sophomore K.J. Warren (who is playing at Harvard).

Savage made it a point to emphasize that the program would not be enjoying this success had it not been for Tricia Miller’s input and guidance. Miller was a standout at Rye Neck for legendary coach Gail Stevenson. Miller went on to play Division I field hockey and has been at Mamaroneck with Savage since he began coaching field hockey in 1994.

Here is a look at Mamamroneck’s yearly record since 2000:

2000: 11-4-3

2001: 8-5-3

2002: 6-6-2

2003: 14-2-3

2004: 20-0-2 — State Champions

2005: 18-1-3 — State Finalist

2006: 18-1-1 — Sectional Finalist

2007: 15-3-2 — Sectional Finalist

2008: 21-1 — Regional Finalist

2009: 19-1-2 — State Final Four (to this point)

Mamaroneck’s record since 2003 is: 125-9-13.

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November 19, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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