Leading off today:
And a child shall lead them ... into the next round of the state tournament.
After 110 minutes of scoreless soccer in the NYSPHSAA girls Class C quarterfinals, Haldane coach Steve Schweikhart sent freshmen out as his leadoff and anchor shooters in the five rounds of penalty kicks.
Sara Ferriera rewarded the coach's faith by knocking home the go-ahead goal for a 4-3 margin over S.S. Seward. The shootout ended moments later when the final Seward attempt flew off the crossbar.
"When it actually went in, I was really happy that it did, because I knew Abigail (Platt) would save the next one and we would go off to states," she said.
Said Schweikhart: "The first and fifth kickers are freshmen, but they're both so level-headed and calm, I figured they were the perfect two for the position, and they did it."
A nice way to start: Playing in the state tournament for the first time, Pleasantville defeated reigning Class B champion Chenango Forks 2-0. Junior Isabelle Kapoor led the way with a goal 9:48 into the contest and an assist in the contest's final nine minutes.
"It's one and done. I think they were ready," said Pleasantville coach Chris Osterhoudt. "Obviously, we've never been this far before. You keep the ride going. I saw it in their eyes, they just wanted it really badly."
More girls state tourney highlights: North Rockland hit four posts but got goals from four different players in its 4-0 win vs. Elmira in the Class AA first round. North Rockland will meet Monroe-Woodbury on Saturday for the right to advance to the semifinals.
• Kylie McNally's penalty kick in the second half proved decisive as Pearl River edged Vestal in the Class A first round. The Pirates (17-1-3) will play Section 9 champion Minisink Valley in a quarterfinal Friday.
• Mohonasen rolled past Malone 7-0 in other Class A action and will play Jamesville-DeWitt in the quarterfinals.
• Defenders scored Schalmont's first three goal in a 4-0 win over Canton in the Class B first round. Schalmont plays Saturday in the quarterfinals against Central Valley Academy, a 4-1 winner over Northeastern Clinton.
Boys games: Junior Noah Lortie scored a pair of second-half goals two minutes apart to power Rhinebeck to a 2-0 win over Southold in the Class C first round at Faller Field in Middletown.
Lortie scored in the 51st minute and converted a penalty kick in the 53rd minute to advance the unbeaten Hawks (17-0-1) to the quarterfinals vs. Alexander Hamilton.
• Chris Shust accounted for all the scoring and Brendan Douthit made eight saves in Burke Catholic's 2-0 win over Bronxville in Class B, setting up a quarterfinal vs. Center Moriches on Saturday.
Boys basketball notes: Rochester police officer Jeff LaFave has been named coach at Gates Chili. LaFave was the JV coach at Rochester School of the Arts the past five seasons.
• Long Island Lutheran point guard Andre Curbelo committed to the University of Illinois over the weekend.
Following up: A blog entry last week noted the Peekskill school district's addition of emotional support coaches to the football and basketball teams for the current school year.
Much like Bob Chavez at The Daily Messenger in Canandaigua, I had some immediate thoughts right off the bat but I didn't have time to dive in -- more on that below -- and I wanted more time to think things through. Well, it turns out that Chavez's thoughts and mine turned out to be pretty close. You should read his column in its entirety, but here are three key takeaways from it: