BRONXVILLE, N.Y. — One of the biggest challenges facing any defending champion is gearing up for the long grind of a title defense. It can be tough to find the little slights and digs that can be used as motivation when the previous season was such a success.
Defending Section 1 Class C champion Bronxville will likely face that challenge this year at some point, but it wasn’t Monday afternoon when they squared off against a Mamaroneck team that was one of two teams to defeat them last season. The Broncos raced out to a 9-1 halftime lead before ultimately defeating the Tigers 15-7.
“This was definitely a game we had circled on our calendar,” Bronxville junior and Johns Hopkins commit Jack Grass said. “They got the better of us in an overtime game last year but today we just came out of the gates hustling and did pretty well for ourselves.”
After being held scoreless for the first seven minutes, the Broncos erupted for four goals over the final five to take a 4-0 first quarter lead. Throughout the game the Broncos attacked in bunches, often finding openings through the middle of the field that they were able to exploit with their superior speed.
“Actually one of the issues I wanted to fix today is not attacking so much,” Bronxville coach Tim Horgan said. “We have a pretty good game in transition but we need to do a better job of resting our defense and knowing when to settle it down and when to push it, but that will come.”
Bronxville returns a dynamic offense from last year’s title team. Grass (four goals), his younger brother freshman Henry Grass (four goals, three assists) and junior Brewster Warble (three goals, five assists) accounted for 11 of Bronxville’s 15 goals and still have two solid years remaining to coalesce as a unit.
Mamaroneck came out of halftime determined to make it a game and hung tough with Bronxville throughout the second half. Jack Conley (three goals) helped jumpstart a Tiger offense that scored six second-half goals and goalkeeper Thomas Brill made nine saves but Mamaroneck couldn’t gain any ground on the relentless Broncos.
When a defending champion loses two All-Americans from the previous year and still looks as explosive as Bronxville does, the rest of Class C has the right to be concerned. The Bronco defense is solid with senior captain Jack Harris anchoring the back line and junior goalkeeper Eric Pass (nine saves) minding the net.
“Our defense gets some great turnovers, some perfect-timing kind of turnovers,” Henry Grass said. “That gives us the momentum to take the ball down the field and stick it in the back of the net.”
Both teams will take the field again on Wednesday as Bronxville (2-0) travels to White Plains while Mamaroneck (1-1) will look to rebound when they host Eastchester.