RNHS Field Hockey: Nicole Miller Ignites 3-2 Win in Field Hockey Opener

How does the old saw go? “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.”

Published September 12, 2014 5:00 AM
2 min read

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RN-Field-Hocke-thHow does the old saw go? “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.”

 

By Mitch Silver

RN-Field-Hockey-2How does the old saw go? “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.”

With seven minutes left in their season opener Saturday morning, visiting Valhalla turned up the heat on Rye Neck. Not only was the air as hot as a griddle, with summer heat and humidity that made it feel like 100°, but the Vikings had melted away the Panthers’ early 2-0 lead on a pair of penalty corners.

RN-Field-Hockey-IMG 9635Get out of the kitchen? Hardly. Coach Beth Gulotta’s home team took advantage of a Valhalla time-out to regroup for a final seven-minute surge. The pep talk worked. With possession deep in Valhalla’s end, senior Nicole Miller finally converted fellow captain Briana Cefaloni’s pass at 5:51 to edge her team in front.

Then it was up to the Panthers’ D to withstand everything the Vikings could throw at them. Time and again the ball was sent into Rye Neck’s half of the field. And time and again, junior goalkeeper Julia Gutterman and the young defense in front of her played their way out of trouble. It was a hot, exhausted team that finally dragged themselves off the field as 3-2 winners.

“We got lucky,” said Goalkeeper Coach Amanda Mahncke, “After Nicole and Rosella Salanitro scored to put us up, we kind of sagged and let them back in the game. But their coach called a time-out when we didn’t have any left, and that gave us a chance to get reorganized.”

Mahncke and Gulotta, an ex-Panther standout herself, have been coaching the team for three years. “We lost five seniors to graduation, mostly on the defensive side of the ball,” Gulotta explained. “So we’re still a work-in-progress.” Mahncke added, “We’re family. We pick each other up, and we have fun.”

It was hard to tell whether netminder Gutterman was having fun, smothered in a goalkeeper’s pads on the hottest day of the year, but she certainly played a strong game, making six saves. Co-Captains Miller and Cefaloni also praised sophomore midfielder Catherine Yoo for her strong all-around play.

The locals next traveled to Irvington for a contest September 11, post-press time.

 

 

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