Girls’ Varsity A Soccer Playoffs: Round One

Amanda Ruzumna

Coming into playoffs with a record of 10-3-2, the Scarsdale Raiders Girls’ Varsity A  Soccer team was looking to go far in playoffs.  The Raiders had just won their five final games of the regular season and were looking to win in their first round of playoffs.  Because of their winning record, the Raiders were given the fifth seed.  Their first playoff game was against Mamaroneck at 2:00 PM on Saturday, October 21, on the SHS Turf field.  The Raiders were excited about the home game and trained hard in practice the week before the game.

The Wednesday night before the game, October 18, most of the team took a trip to the Galleria Mall in White Plains after practice in order to get their hair braided in cornrows.  Getting cornrows for playoffs is an annual tradition for the Raiders, keeping the braids in their hair as long as they are still in playoffs.  The girls who got the cornrows got them on the left side of their head, some being braided all the way down and others just part of the way.  

Having a higher seed than Mamaroneck and having tied and beat them in the regular season games (0-0 and 4-1), the Raiders came into the game on the 21st determined to win and continue on in playoffs.  The girls had an intense warm-up, staying focused on the game.  Many fans came to support the game, cheering and encouraging the Raiders to win even more.  The game started pretty tight, staying 0-0 for most of the first half.  Towards the end of the half, Raiders’ outside midfielder Nayumi Parente ’19 scored the first goal of the game.  “Mamaroneck played hard, and it took us a while to adjust, but we eventually did and were able to score a goal in the first half,” shared Paige Barlow ’19.  At halftime, the score was still 1-0 to the Raiders, but the Raiders knew they had to pick it up in order to come out with a win.  

The raiders entered the second half with a new and more determined mindset to score, but they couldn’t quite complete their goal.  Although they weren’t able to score, the Raiders were able to prevent Mamaroneck from scoring for almost the whole second half.  But, with almost 10 minutes left in the game, Mamaroneck scored a header off of a corner kick.  Even though they had just been scored on, the Raiders were still in the game and were determined to score in order to win.  The second half finished with a score of 1-1 with neither team scoring again.  

Because the normal two halves of the game had ended with a tie and a winner was needed in order to determine which team would continue on in playoffs, the game went into overtime: two 10 minute halves.  Both teams came into overtime strong, playing with heart and a strong desire to win.  Although the Raiders held possession of the ball more than Mamaroneck and had more shots, they weren’t able to score in the two 10 minute halves.  Mamaroneck didn’t score either, resulting in the overtime still being tied at 1-1.  This meant that the next overtime would be a 5 minute sudden death period, meaning that the first team to score within the 5 minutes would win the game.  Again, neither team scored and another 5 minute sudden death overtime period was played.  Similarly, neither team was able to score within the second 5 minute period.

Finally, the game went into penalty kicks in order to determine the winner and who would be moving on in playoffs.  Each team had to select five players to take a penalty kick, creating a specific order and flipping a coin between the teams to determine who would go first in the shootout.  The selected five players from each team stood on the half line of the field and one by one each player was called to the goal to take their shot with the goalies from both teams alternating.  All of the people in the crowd and on both teams were silent and extremely focused, anxiously awaiting the intense penalty kicks that would determine the winning team.  Raiders’ captain Carly Rubin ’18 had the first shot, scoring the goal. Mamaroneck also made their first shot.  Next, Raiders’ Dana Papandreadis ’18 took her shot, also making it.  Mamaroneck likewise made their next shot.  Raiders’ Allison Stafford ’19 had the 3rd shot, scoring the goal as well.  On Mamaroneck’s third shot, Raiders’ goalie Cristina Coco ’19 had an amazing save, putting the raiders up in the shootout 3-2.  Raiders’ Olivia Bryant ’20 shot next, also finishing on goal and keeping the Raiders’ lead.  If Mamaroneck missed their fourth shot, the Raiders would win the game.  Mamaroneck did make their fourth shot, though.  This left it up to the Raiders to make their final shot in order to come out of the game with their desired result.  Raiders’ Amanda Ruzumna ’19 took the fifth and final shot for the Raiders, scoring and earning the Raiders the win and a spot in the next round in playoffs.  As soon as Ruzumna made the shot, the Raiders ran onto the field, first hugging Ruzumna and then all the other penalty kick takers and Coco, and then having a big team hug.  “Everyone who took a PK knew that they could make it, and took it with confidence and scored,” commented Barlow.  The crowd went wild, expressing their support for the Raiders and wishing them luck in their next game.

What was supposed to be an hour and 20 minute game with two 40 minute halves turned into a game of almost 3 hours with five overtimes.  “The problem was that our approach that we took with the game was too casual and complacent.  We realized too late, in overtime, that we needed to pick up the intensity,” said Parente.  Even though the game was a little stressful for the Raiders, they were still able to come out with the result they wanted and now know what they need to work on for their next game.  “I think that something that we can all improve on is playing with more heart. Sometimes that is all that it comes down to. In our game, I think Mamaroneck was the team that was showing more heart and that’s what kept them in the game for so long. That’s the one major thing that I would say we learned from playing Mamaroneck,” shared Parente.  The Raiders plan on stepping up their intensity in the next game and trying to finish more in order to score more goals.  Come support the Raiders in round two of the playoffs in their game against New Rochelle on Wednesday, October 25, at 3:00 PM at the New Rochelle High School Turf!!