It was a successful spring of milestones, individual accolades, and exploration of uncharted territory for Sleepy Hollow.
The boys lacrosse team authored one of the best seasons in recent memory, compiling an overall record of 13-5. A conglomerate of scorers committed to whizzing precise passes ripped through the early slate in shark-size bites.
The offense was balanced by a defensive unit fortified by a lockdown defender in Kyle McGovern (who handled the chore of putting the clamps on every gung-ho gunslinger in sight) and backboned by senior netminder Jay Ramirez.
Sleepy Hollow opened up the season on a tear, thoroughly demolishing the local small-schools circuit with seven straight victories. The Headless Horsemen buckled and crumbled under the weight of a 5-1 run against Tappan Zee, but recovered with a 4-0 slate that lifted them into shotgun of the league driver's seat.
Then, Sleepy Hollow encountered a buzz saw in Pleasantville, a defensive-minded team bolstered by Fairfield-bound senior Conor Fraylick. Fraylick stoned shots at will against the Horsemen, as Sleepy dropped a pair of games intensified by a war of words, hostilities, and extracurricular activity on the field.
Ending the regular season at a robust 12-4, the Horsemen were on slate for a first round date with Haldane in the Class C playoffs. Prior to the game, rumors about the upcoming rapture permeated the walls of Sleepy Hollow High School, eliciting little response from a tight-knit core perhaps not as gullable as those manipulated by Harold Camping's relentless words of warning.
Still, the Headless Horsemen played as if time was running out. The sense of urgency was evidenced by the way Sleepy Hollow pursued ground balls, controlled possession, and matched Haldane's physicality. While tempers flared and penalties were distributed, Sleepy Hollow remained composed, stamping a 10-5 win.
The playoff success was short-lived, however, as the Horsemen encountered a team predicated on speedball offense in Byram Hills. The Bobcats orchestrated a 5-0 tear to take control of the game. Sleepy was bedeviled by the Bobcats' barrage of transition goals, en route to a 11-5 quarterfinal.
Several Horsemen were recognized throughout the conference and Section. Dennis Maloy, Ramirez, Jorge Berenguer, Tim Rachlin, John-Michael Bogusz all earned a spot on the All-League team.
Maloy earned an All-Section honorable mention nod. Bogusz, who will prolong his career at Wooster College in Ohio next season, garnered the prestigious Senior Award at the Sleepy Hollow High School Sports Awards last week.
One of the top stories of the spring was that of the softball team. An accurate depiction of the walking wounded at the season's start (decimated by untimely injuries to three key pieces at the start of the season), the Headless Horsemen overcame a rough patch. With sound defense and speed on the base paths, perhaps the team's biggest moment came in the wake of a crushing one-run loss.
Pegged as an "also-ran" in a Class A of haves and have-nots, unsung no.12 Sleepy Hollow fell run one short of registering the most pulsating upset in the Sectional tournament against Pelham.
Though they ended up bowing to the Pelicans in a 3-2 defeat, Sleepy Hollow kept a hot hitting team at bay. Jamie Bucci induced a plethora of ground balls, stress free fly outs, and ultimately rendered the Pelicans offensively futile in a pitcher's duel.
"I've done coaching for 20 years, it was one of the best softball games in the history of softball," Sleepy Hollow coach Tony Milewski said. "It was just a great, great, game. No errors. Anybody that didn't see it, they missed a treat. There wasn't any fireworks, it was a game defined by great defense."
Taylor Zayas staked her claim as one of the best young defensive players with countless plays at first base. The Horsemen stole more than Bernie Madoff, manufacturing offense with cerebral grand larceny on the bases.
Though the Horsemen's upset bid would eventually fall short, the thriller earned Sleepy Hollow recognition throughout the Section. The future is promising, as a significant chunk of the youth-laden core returns. Milewski and the Horsemen will bid adieu to four-year standout Brittany Brand and Mariana Tolentino, a major threat on the bases. Both players will be claimed by 2011 graduation.
On the links, Mississippi State-bound golfer Jimmy Bender authored a successful senior year, opening eyes with thunderous drives. Bender let it fly early, often, and with efficiency. The senior co-captain took home All-League honors alongside TJ Kent and sibling Jack Bender.
Shouldering the onus of No.1, Bender scored 40 or below in seven of the last eight matches. He earned a trip to the Section 1 tournament at Sunningdale Country Club, culminating his career with an 89 on the Par 71 course. Jack Bender proved he was his brother's keeper, turning in an overall score of 87 as he navigated the greens.
The biggest issue girls varsity lacrosse coach Blair Moynahan faced at the start of the 2011 campaign was who to select as the captains. The team was bolstered by a knot-tight senior class that used strength in numbers to their advantage.
While All-Section Jennifer Angevine spearheaded the wealth-sharing offense with innate scoring, a defensive unit that returns several key pieces (freshman goalie Rebecca Leeper and jack-of-all-trades talent Alexis Birritella to name a few) displayed promise.
Angevine and Gabby Cellante took home Patch Female Athlete of the Year accolades to culminate their careers. The team finished 6-8-1 on the season.
The re-emergence of long distance runner Katherine Doyle and the success of sprinters/jumpers Antoinette Maldonado and Gillian Berger earned plenty of headlines for the spring of 2011.
Doyle, who was bitten by the injury bug during the winter (IP band issue), came back guns-a-blazing with a personal record (11:43) in the 3,000-meters. She offered immediate and plentiful contributions areas of middle to long distance. Maldonado and Berger both earned trips to the New York State qualifier event in upstate LaGrangeville.
The baseball team overcame an early rut to finish with a 5-13 record. They were buoyed by solid pitching performances at the end of the season.
One of the more memorable and marquee performances occurred towards the end of the season. After Sleepy earned the split with Westlake, hurler Edwin Lebron whiffed nine in a defensive-minded affair against Croton.