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Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013: Field hockey gets feisty for Valhalla, Ossining

   Leading off today: I know what you've been saying: New York just doesn't have enough feudin', fightin' and fussin' in high school field hockey to keep you interested in the sport.

   Well, we've got the solution for you courtesy of a weekend controversy that's already gotten ugly and yet could still take a turn for the worse.

   The Journal News reported Tuesday that Section 1 has upheld Valhalla’s protest of its 3-2 loss at Ossining on Saturday, determining the winning goal was scored when Ossining had an extra player on the field.

   The ruling by the section's protest committee leaves open the possibility of replaying the final minutes of the game, though it may be in everyone's best interest to declare it a tie and keep a safe distance between two programs that seem to have issues with each other at the moment.

   “It seemed on the field they just wanted to fight,” Valhalla coach Jenna Wenk said of the Ossining players, who she says cursed and shoved her players.

   Ossining coach Kathy Lees called the game "very heated" and said both teams bore some responsibility.

   The protest arose after Sade Tukuru scored the apparent go-head goal with 3:51 to play and two players from each team serving 10-minute misconduct penalties. The Valhalla sideline immediately protested that Ossining had 10 players on the field instead of nine.

   According to the paper, Wenk questioned whether the error was innocent or whether Lees had intentionally inserted an extra player during a timeout with 4:20 left. Officials forced two more Ossining players to sit for the remainder of the game due to the error, put the protest committee determined that wasn't an adequate remedy.

   For more on Saturday's fireworks, follow this link to the full newspaper story.

   Coming soon to a court near you: The family of a former Webster Thomas hockey player has sued the school district and hockey coach for keeping him off the varsity for four years "in spite of his advanced skills."

   The lawsuit (read a copy here) was filed last month by Michelle Capellupo on behalf of her son, Stephen Capellupo, the Democrat and Chronicle reported. It claims coach David Evans cut the youth from the team vindictively after the family complained to school administrators.

   Capellupo made the varsity team as a freshman in 2008 but was demoted to the junior varsity after a period of academic ineligibility. For most of the next three years, he participated in offseason activities, attended extra practices and "dominated" JV competition, the suit says, but was frozen out by Evans.

   "Evans' failure to select plaintiff for the varsity team was an abuse of Evans' power that had a deleterious effect on (Capellupo's) future as a hockey player," the suit asserts. football site

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   Evans, a physical education teacher at Webster, has won five Section 5 championships as well as a state championship in 2008. He announced in July a one-year leave of absence during which he will coach with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes hockey program.

   A compelling read: Mary Jo Monnin delivered some excellent research and reporting in Tuesday's Buffalo News with her account of the six known high school football-related deaths in Western New York history.

   By the way, it's a credit to that newspaper that publishing the story did not come at the expense of the usual two-plus pages they devote to high school features, news, polls and stats each Tuesday during the school year. Even some of the media outlets around the state that can match Buffalo's commitment to prep sports can't touch that kind of weekly presentation.

   Advisory for our football advisers: Folks who give Neil Kerr an assist via email each Sunday with regional football input should be prepared to resort to old-fashioned technology -- the telephone -- this weekend.

   Neil's computer has gone to that big junkyard in the sky and he may not have the replacement up and running in time for the weekend.

   Extra points: I haven't had time to make inquiries, but there have been odd goings-on in Section 5 football with regard to tournament seeding points the past two weeks.

   Their website contained a note last week that the points system outlined in their preseason handbook was wrong, but the revised data (in which all games were treated the same even if the opponents were in different classes) was yanked yesterday and coaches were advised that the old system would remain in effect.

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