Conley's return, Brill's heroics power Mamaroneck
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WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – When Mamaroneck’s star player Peter Conley when down with a quad injury midway through the year, the Tigers’ season changed dramatically. Mamaroneck won the two games after Conley went down, but then lost the next eight straight games, putting a dark cloud over the end of the Tigers’ regular season.
However, the luck would change for Mamaroneck heading into its Section 1 Class A opening round playoff game against White Plains on Friday afternoon. For the first time in 10 games, the Georgetown-bound Conley would suit up.
Conley’s return lit a fire under No. 10-seeded Mamaroneck (7-10) and the team responded, defeating No. 7-seeded White Plains, 8-5 in an exciting, back-and-forth battle. Mamaroneck will travel to face Suffern in the quarterfinals on Tuesday.
“(Having Conley back) was a massive boost,” Mamaroneck coach Jeff Barnard said. “He attracts a tremendous amount of attention from the defense… It helps us out a lot. Having him on the field is a huge presence for us. He’s a great kid and a great player.”
Conley’s boost was more than just emotional though as the junior scored two goals and had one assist. His final goal put Mamaroneck up three goals with under a minute to play and seal the game.
“I can’t even describe it really,” Conley said. “It was hard for me to sit on the sidelines and just watch; I was helpless. I was just doing anything I could to help our guys as much as I could. Honestly I think it’s a blessing in disguise. Now that I’m back, our other guys that have been carrying the load for the past 10 games, they’ve all improved so much. Now that I’m back we’ll all just click and hopefully we can make a run at this.”
While Conley’s return was a huge boost, goalkeeper Thomas Brill was the reason Mamaroneck won the game. Brill was spectacular in goal, notching nine saves and single-handedly keeping the Tigers in the game at times.
“(Thomas) played the best game of the season today, without a doubt,” Barnard said. “We hope he continues it. He’s a great athlete and he did a great job today. He’s really coming into his own during the playoffs and that’s what you want from a team and from your players.”
Brill had one spectacular sequence in which he saved four straight shots from White Plains, three of which were wide-open opportunities.
“This feels great,” Brill said with a smile. “I was coming off kind of a rough patch, we all were. We lost eight in a row and it was pretty bad. We came back out now and were strong as a team.”
Mamaroneck’s Reed Malas and Scott Greenberg each added two goals in the victory while Danny McCarthy and Justin Csenge each added a goal of their own. Greenberg and McCarthy also each added an assist and Dylan Friedman had an assist as well.
Mamaroneck led 3-0 after the first quarter, but White Plains (9-8) bounced back with four straight goals to take the lead just before the half. White Plains was unable to keep up the pace though and only scored one more goal in the third quarter.
“In the beginning, I think we tried to outsmart ourselves,” said White Plains coach Mark Armogida. “We tried to run a few different defense because they had Conley. After that we switched it back and played pretty well. They just killed in transition in the second half and we weren’t on our game offensively. We had three or four balls that hit the post; it just wasn’t our night.”
White Plains’ Drew Ahlers scored a team-high three goals while Eric Davis and Gary Pace each scored a goal of their own. Davis also added two assists and Nick Leone had an assist. Goalkeeper Robbie Lorden had eight saves.
Mamaroneck advances to face the number two seed Suffern in a game that the Tigers will be underdogs in. Mamaroneck is familiar with Suffern though as the Mounties knocked Mamaroneck out of the playoffs last year.
“We lost to Suffern last year, so that was pretty tough,” Conley said. “We felt like last year we had a let-down in the second and third quarters, but we had a nice first and fourth quarter. We gave it up in the middle of the game. Hopefully we can come out strong.”
Mamaroneck 3 0 2 3 8
White Plains 0 4 1 0 5
MAM – Scott Greenberg | 1-0 MAM
MAM – Danny McCarthy from Dylan Friedman | 2-0 MAM
MAM – Reed Malas from McCarthy | 3-0 MAM
WP – Gary Pace unassisted | 3-1 MAM
WP – Drew Ahlers from Eric Davis | 3-2 MAM
WP – Davis unassisted | 3-3 MAM
WP – Ahlers from Davis | 4-3 WP
MAM – Peter Conley | 4-4
MAM – Greenberg from Conley | 5-4 MAM
WP – Ahlers from Nick Leone | 5-5
MAM – Csenge | 6-5 MAM
MAM – Malas | 7-5 MAM
MAM – Conley | 8-5 MAM