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A Triple Threat

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Mike Mahoney, then coaching Sullivan West/Delaware Valley

Sullivan West Girls
Soccer Teams Merge

By Frank Rizzo
CALLICOON — September 7, 2001 – Give a coach a choice, and he would rather have too many aspiring players (and thus make cuts) than too few (and possibly not field a team).
When Delaware Valley, Jeffersonville-Youngsville and Narrowsburg merged into the Sullivan West School District, one of the concerns was that there would be fewer slots for athletes.
Mike Mahoney, for one, sees in the merger an opportunity. Mahoney was appointed to coach the first combined Sullivan West girls’ soccer squad.
“A bigger talent pool will help,” he said. “It gives you an ability to develop more complete players who can be interchangeable on the field.”
According to Mahoney, who coached varsity soccer at Delaware Valley from 1995-2000, he had 40 players try out for the first combined team. The Lady Bulldogs will dress 26 for home games and 18 for away games.
“These are good problems,” Mahoney said when asked about cutting his roster. “We made cuts at DV the past four years.”
Mahoney noted that “no one campus dominates [the roster]. We have good representation from all three campuses.
“The biggest thing I had to do,” he added, ‘was to evaluate the talent and take an approach to bring people on the same page. I think they’re doing real well working together. There’s a good blend of kids and they’re enthused and excited.”
Sullivan West will compete in the Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) Division V with Tuxedo, Tri-Valley, Fallsburg and Chester.
Some of the traditional rivalries still exist, despite the folding of the Western Sullivan League. The Lady Bulldogs will also play Eldred, Roscoe and Livingston Manor.
SW’s league season opened yesterday with a game at Fallsburg, too late for inclusion here.
Today the Lady Bulldogs face Pine Bush in the opening round of the Pine Bush Tournament. Yorktown and Cornwall are the other participants.
Any of those three bigger schools will be sure to give SW tough tests.
“It’s an opportunity to expand their horizons,” Mahoney said of his team’s participation in the tourney.
The one sure thing Mahoney is sure of now, after two scrimmages, is his defense. Playing a “straight four” instead of a “diamond” pattern, Mahoney hopes to do a lot of offside trapping.
“I try to stay away from the stopper/sweeper [“diamond” arrangement] because it creates a lot of problems in the corners,” Mahoney said.
Mahoney said his forwards and midfielders still need to improve.
“We’ve had two scrimmages, against Downsville and Monticello, and had our scoring opportunities, but wound up making their goalies look good,” he said.
“The passion and the fire are still there for me,” said Mahoney, who coached soccer for many seasons in New England before moving to the area. “I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

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