2012-12-26 / Sports

Lots to Celebrate in Sports

2012 provided us with countless memories
By Stephen Schweikhart

Just some of the many Haldane celebrations during 2012 Just some of the many Haldane celebrations during 2012 Mayan prophecies aside, 2012 was a year of celebration for Haldane sports. Whether it was on the playing field, or in the voting booth, Blue Devil supporters had plenty of reasons to cheer. Championships were won, respect was earned and most importantly, many a memory was made as the Haldane sports machine rocketed through a year of great accomplishment.

The year started with the school’s basketball teams already halfway through their regular season campaigns. While neither team would capture a championship, they both had their moments – including the girls team kick starting 2012 with an energetic win over Hendrick Hudson.

Entering the game, the Lady Blue Devils had dropped their first eight games of the 2011/2012 season. But with the new year came the team’s first win, a superb team effort that saw the Blue Devils rally past the Sailors 45-42. It was great basketball, a great crowd and it got 2012 off to a great start.

Photos by Stephen Schweikhart and Scott Warren Photos by Stephen Schweikhart and Scott Warren The boys had their moments too, none more poignant than their gallant effort against unbeaten Tuckahoe in the sectional semi-finals. Battling obscene officiating and a flu bug that ravaged the squad, the Blue Devils were within five points of the Tigers with seconds to go in the third quarter. But, within minutes the Blue Devils would lose Seniors Elias Lopez, Henry Heintzman and Wil Hoffmann to fouls and the game slowly slipped away. Hoffmann was one of a number of Haldane players feeling the effects of the bug. Looking a little blue in the gills, and chugging Gatorade at every turn to stay hydrated, Hoffmann still managed to pour in 18 points in his Haldane finale – a finale that showed just how gutsy this team was.

When the weather warmed and the games went outside, it was hard to predict how special the baseball team’s season would be. Seemingly forever in the shadow of Haldane’s dominant softball team, Tom Virgadamo’s squad put together a historic run that came up seven innings short of a state title.

The Blue Devils had that rare combination of talent and chemistry and it propelled them all the way to Johnson City and the state title game. Along the way they unseated Tuckahoe as the Section 1 champs, and put together a dominant run to the final behind the arms of Ryan Koval and Dan Kinnaird. The Special Ks threw back-to-back-to-back shut outs over Tri-Valley, Pierson- Bridgehampton and Vorheesville in the state tournament in a three-game run that was as good as you will ever see.

After some early season struggles, the Blue Devils’ young softball team once again raised the Section 1 hardware, routing Solomon Schechter 16-1. Though Haldane’s season ended in the next round against a hard hitting Tuxedo squad, the Blue Devils look primed to make some noise in the coming years.

Haldane’s lacrosse team once again will be known as the squad that battled the prom and lost. For two years running, the Blue Devils have been scheduled to play a sectional playoff game on the day of the Senior prom. Two years ago, they battled weather delays in a loss at Sleepy Hollow that left the team scrambling to get back to the festivities on time.

This year, the team decided there would be no such conflict. Facing the distinct possibility that the team would miss a good part of the prom festivities because of 4:30 start time at Byram Hills, the team voted not to play the game. The decision ignited “water cooler” discussions though out Cold Spring and Garrison as to whether or not the decision was a good one. A more appropriate discussion might be why Section 1 schedules playoff games on Fridays during prom season?

The fall season had something for just about everyone, as four teams collected sectional championships. While the girls and boys cross country teams and the girls volleyball and soccer squads all took home titles, the season’s most memorable moment occurred on a beautiful Saturday during the regular season.

October 6th was Haldane football’s version of a Norman Rockwell painting. Sun shining, crisp air, an arch enemy (Tuckahoe) and a heavy underdog. Sun and spirits went in opposite directions with each passing moment. The emotion of the game soared with each down as the sun slowly sunk behind Storm King. Overtime one – tied. Overtime two – tied. Overtimes three and four – still tied. Overtime five, well, we will have to just imagine how it would have turned out. At 27-27, the game was called because of darkness and the Blue Devils and Tigers settled for a tie. If you were there that day, you now fully appreciate what make high school sports so special.

The girls’ volleyball team went back to the state final for the third consecutive year, and while they did not retain the title they had won in 2011, it is hard not to be impressed by their accomplishments.

Winning a sectional title is hard enough, but 10 in a row? That is exactly what the Haldane volleyball team has accomplished. Three state finals in a row? Even more amazing. This program is a juggernaut. They just keep restocking each year.

Both the girls’ and boys’ cross country teams captured sectional titles and turned in their best ever performances at the state meet. Both squads are very young, and will be in a great position to score even better next year.

The boys’ soccer team may not have won the sectional crown this year, but they did have 2012’s most memorable moment on the pitch at St. Basil’s. That came in the team’s sectional semi-final win over Hamilton. After battling to a 2-2 draw for 110 minutes, Johnny Rotando ended the suspense by drilling the team’s final penalty kick into the right side of the net for the win. The resulting frenzied and shirtless (by some) celebration was shared by the many fans who toed the touchline at the eastern end of the field.

The girls’ soccer team captured their second consecutive sectional crown when they shut out Tuckahoe 2-0. The team finished with 14 wins on the season (a school record), and knocked off Croton, Beacon and Yorktown for the first time in school history. Twelve of the team’s wins were via shutout, a testament to the team’s stout defense. With 10 of the team’s 11 starters returning next year, the Blue Devils will be in good shape for 2013.

Hockey made its Haldane debut, as three Blue Devils joined forces with students from Putnam Valley and Kennedy to form a Haldane/Kennedy/Putnam Valley combined squad. Jacob Cox, Owen Thomas and Anthony Percacciolo make up the H on the HKPV team, and each has contributed to the team’s fast 5-2-1 start.

Finally, the school’s biggest victory came off the field as voters approved a referendum to install a new turf field on the Haldane campus. For years the school has tried to build some sort of momentum to improve the current facility, never getting the traction needed to move forward. That all changed this past November as voters approved the capital improvement project by a comfortable margin. We can only hope Haldane’s new home field provides as many wonderful memories.

Happy holidays everyone, and best wishes for a great 2013!

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