Lady Bulldogs soccer season ends in tears
MIDDLETOWN, NY — Dreams are like wishes, in that sometimes when you shoot for the stars you come up a bit short.
The Lady Bulldogs of Sullivan West battled the Millbrook Lady Blazers on Wednesday, October 25 for the coveted Section IX Class C championship at Middletown High’s Faller Field.
Sullivan West (10-6-1) took to the field in its second consecutive section final, but at the final buzzer Millbrook (7-6-1) picked up its first sectional crown, defeating the opposition 2-0.
The Lady Blazers dominated the match almost from the get-go, until the closing 15 minutes, when Sullivan West staged a late-game rally in hopes of surmounting a two-goal lead and reaching for the stars with a win.
Millbrook’s Isa Rosenzweig scored at 34:26 in the first half off an assist by Arianna Radovik.
In the second frame, the Lady Blazers wrapped out their shutout at 16:41 on a shot by Rebecca Quick to beat Sullivan West’s keeper Isabel Nearing from a direct kick assist from Elizabeth Smith.
The Lady Bulldog’s GK posed 17 saves; Millbrook’s Claire Martel had eight.
Mike Ellmauer, now in his 34th season as Sullivan’s West’s girls’ varsity soccer coach, subbed in five seniors with five minutes left on the game clock in a class move to give his senior booters one last chance to compete together wearing the school colors of Carolina blue and silver black.
Noting that the team was perhaps a tad daunted at first by the level of play, Ellmauer said, “After a while we kicked it into gear and started to play… we opened things up in the last minutes of the game [but] when you’re in a hole it’s hard to get out.”
So what about putting all the seniors out there for a final hurrah?
“They deserved the glory of it,” said Ellmauer.
His take on the season?
“Oh my God… 10 wins, qualified for sectionals and a great group of kids.”
Nicole Kocher, 17, is a senior midfielder for the Lady Bulldogs.
“It was a tough loss… all I could ask for was for my team to play their hardest, and that’s what we did,” she said.
McKinley Bernitt is a 17-year-old 12th-grade center midfielder at Sullivan West.
“I think we woke up after their first goal… I think we ended strong, and that’s the best we could do.”
“The juniors came up and did an amazing job… overall, we had a really great season,” added Bernitt.
Jerome Canzonerie, coach of the Lady Blazers, summed up the game: “You work hard and you get what your goal is… they put in so much hard work and played together.”
Rosenzweig is a 17-year-old senior captain for Millbrook.
“We came out on the field, and just dominated… I got the first goal, but most importantly we won the game because we played as a team.”