Coppola Lifts North Salem Field Hockey To Emotional Win

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North Salem's Theresa McDonald brings the ball downfield in the team's 2-1 double overtime win over North Salem in a Section 1 Class C Field Hockey Championship first-round game Saturday. Photo Credit: Tony Pinciaro
North Salem's Eliza Sullivan prepares to play the ball in her team's 2-1 double overtime win over Rye Neck Saturday. Photo Credit: Tony Pinciaro

MAMARONECK, N.Y. – The North Salem field hockey team went into its Section 1 Class C Championship first-round game Saturday against Rye Neck with heavy hearts.

Earlier in the week, tragedy struck team member Caitlin Robson’s family when her younger brother, Michael, 13, and his friend, Jack Baumler, 11, were killed when a tree fell on the Baumler house as a result of Hurricane Sandy. Michael was also a student of North Salem field hockey coach Jen Frohman, who teaches at North Salem Middle School.

North Salem dedicated the game to Robson and Baumler, and the sixth seed upset third-seeded Rye Neck, 2-1, in double overtime.

The Tigers (6-10-1) will play at second-seeded Pawling in a semifinal Monday. Rye Neck finished the season with a 12-4-1- record.

Freshman Raquel Coppola, who forced overtime on a goal with 1:04 remaining in regulation, scored the game-winner two minutes into the second extra 10-minute session.

“This is one of the most emotional victories we’ve had since I’ve been here,” said Frohman, North Salem’s varsity coach since 1999. “There were a lot of tears from our girls.”

Frohman said the team received an emotional lift when Caitlin Robson and her father arrived at the game for the second half.

“Our motto all season has been ‘Keep fighting!’ and today the girls never stopped fighting,” Frohman said.

“This is the second consecutive year our girls have had no power going into sectionals and also we had the tragedy earlier in the week.”

Last year, a freak snowstorm the last weekend of October knocked out power in North Salem. The Tigers lost to Rye Neck in a first-round game last year.

Saturday, Coppola’s winning goal came on a feed from Ola Stefankowski, who carried a free hit into the circle and passed to Coppola, on her right.

“Ola made it a very quick free hit and when she drew the Rye Neck players, she dished the ball beautifully to Raquel,” Frohman said.

Rye Neck had grabbed a quick 1-0 lead when senior Athena Nathan scored two minutes into the game.

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