Memorable Mondays: Top 5 Cinderella stories
Welcome to MSGVarsity.com's Memorable Mondays, a summer-long series that looks back on the top players, games and moments from the past season and gazes ahead to 2012-13. As the summer goes on, we'll compile all the lists and post them here:www.msgvarsity.com/mondays. New lists will be posted every Monday.
In Week 3 of Memorable Mondays, we look at five of the best Cinderella stories in the Hudson Valley.
* Mamaroneck makes history: Just how remarkable was Mamaroneck's run to the Section 1 Class A boys lacrosse title? Well, for starters, the No. 10-seeded Tigers entered the postseason on an eight-game losing streak. On top of that, the program had never won a sectional championship and hadn't even played in a final since 1988. Lastly, no school located south of I-287 had won a Class A sectional title since White Plains did so in 1979. Undeterred by the long odds, Mamaroneck came together as a team and pulled off four straight mammoth playoff upsets, culminating with a 9-8 win over defending sectional champ Mahopac in the championship. The Tigers edged rival White Plains in the opening round and then rolled to back-to-back wins over Suffern in the quarterfinals and Arlington in the semis. Midfielder Peter Conley, who missed the final 10 games of the regular season with a quad injury, powered Mamaroneck's once-in-a-lifetime postseason run. The Georgetown-bound standout racked up 15 goals and three assists during the four-game stretch of true dominance. While the Tigers eventually fell to Section 2 powerhouse Niskayuna in the regional finals, it did little to diminish the most improbable feat in the history of Section 1 lacrosse.
* Chester's magical 2011 season: It wasn't that big of a surprise that Chester's football squad won a Section 9 title for the sixth time in nine years. But the Hambletonians made history in the three weeks after that. Behind sensational running back Saxon Smith, Chester won its first-ever state tournament game, blowing out Haldane 54-8 in the NYS quarters before becoming the first Section 9 team in Class D or C to play in the Carrier Dome.
* Beacon comes up big: Entering the Section 1 Class A softball tournament, six or seven teams had a stake at winning a title. And Beacon wasn't one of them. But the eighth-seeded Bulldogs got hot at the right time and legitimized their title hopes with a 10-inning upset of Pearl River, the four time sectional champs, in the quarters. Beacon followed that with an upset at Tappan Zee in the semifinals before knocking off Brewster in the finals. It was the first title since 1989 for Beacon, which fell in the state regionals.
* Lucky No. 13 for Greeley: First-year coach Adam Borman guided Greeley's boys soccer squad right into the history books. Under the direction of Borman — a 25-year old 2004 Greeley graduate — the No. 13-seeded Quakers made an implausible run to the Section 1 Class AA title. Greeley — which upset John Jay-EF, 2-1, in the championship behind a pair of goals from star striker Jeremy Kesselhaut — became the lowest seed to ever win a AA sectional crown. Borman was also believed to be the youngest coach to win a Section 1 boys soccer title. It also marked the program's first sectional championship since 2007. Greeley's momentous playoff run included upset victories over Clarkstown South (semifinals), Scarsdale (quarterfinals) and Suffern (opening round).
* North Rockland rises above: Girls lacrosse in Rockland County has long been dominated by powerhouse Suffern. In 2012, North Rockland emerged from the Mounties' shadow to steal the spotlight. The Red Raiders put together their best season in program history, knocking off five-time defending champ Lakeland/Panas in the Section 1 Class A finals. It marked their first-ever sectional title. Prior to 2012, North Rockland had lost 10 straight games to rival Suffern. The Red Raiders reversed that trend in a big way, defeating the Mounties twice during the regular season and again in the sectional semis. While it's rare to label a team that went 19-1-1 a "Cinderella Story," North Rockland certainly qualifies. After all, the Red Raiders seriously bucked the trend in Class A, which saw either Lakeland/Panas or Suffern take home the title 10 of the previous 12 years.
Join us throughout the summer as "Memorable Mondays" brings you more top 5 lists:
July 16: Top five exciting endings from 2011-12
July 23: Top five heartwarming moments from 2011-12
July 30: Top five favorite venues from 2011-12
Aug. 6: Top five coaches from 2011-12
Aug. 13: Top five most memorable games from 2011-12
Aug. 20: Top five teams from 2011-12
Aug. 27: Top five teams to watch in 2012-13
Find them all at www.msgvarsity.com/mondays.