Niskayuna clips Saratoga Springs for field hockey title

Lindsay Mayo scored twice as top-seeded Niskayuna beat No. 2 Saratoga Springs, 2-1, in the Section I

Lindsay Mayo said she wasn’t cold.

But as the only player on the field without sleeves underneath her jersey, you had to believe her mind was on other things to fight off temperatures dipping into the upper 30s.

Mayo scored twice as top-seeded Niskayuna beat No. 2 Saratoga Springs, 2-1, in the Section II Class A field hockey championship on the turf at Shenendehowa High School.

For the Silver Warriors (17-2), it was their second sectional championship after winning their first crown in 2006.

The Blue Streaks (14-4), making their third straight appearance in the finals, were denied their sixth Section II championship and first since 2007, when they beat Niskayuna 4-0 in the title game.

“This feels amazing,” Mayo said. “It was nerve-racking the whole game.”

“It’s so exciting, especially because two years ago they were in the same circumstance,” goalie Kristy Macri said. “It’s good to win. We’re so excited to go to Regionals now. We just can’t wait.”

Niskayuna advances to the state Regional tournament at Shenendehowa on Wednesday, facing the winner of Sunday’s Section I title game downstate between John Jay-East Fishkill and Mamaroneck.

The Silver Warriors relied on a dominating two-way performance by Mayo in midfield, along with Shannon Pfohl at sweeper and a defense that had allowed only five pervious goals all season, including a pair of shutout wins over Sar­atoga during the regular Suburban Council season.

“Defensively we have a great team,” Macri said. “We have a lot of shutouts, but if you look, there’s also not a lot of shots on goal. So we’re very strong defensively. We keep the ball in our circle shooting. Our team makes me look good.”

Niskayuna had 14 penalty corners to Saratoga’s three (all of the Blue Streaks’ corners came in the second half), and the Silver Warriors made the ninth one count with 5:26 remaining in the first half.

Julia Kosineski put the ball in play, sending it to Mayo near the top of the circle. Mayo blasted a shot that deflected off a defender on its way into the back of the goal for a 1-0 lead.

“They got settled quicker than we did, and they got some great shots off,” Saratoga coach Jo-Anne Hostig said.

Niskayuna built that advantage to 2-0 only 50 seconds into the second half. Again, Kosineski started the play, this time to Katie Farley, who fired in a shot. Saratoga goalie Meredith Farley made a kick save, but the ball ricocheted out to Mayo, now inside the circle. Mayo blasted the ball from 10 yards out into the goal.

“It was just a slap shot,” Mayo said. “I just kind of had to shoot it in there with a quick shot.”

“Lindsay is a phenomenal player,” Niskayuna coach Alison Broomhead said. “Her goal tonight was to play both offense and defense and just keep the transition going, and she really excelled at that.”

Undaunted, Saratoga came back. On only their second corner of the game, Celia D’Agostino sent a pass to Morgan Powell at the top of the circle. Powell stopped the ball, dribbled and ripped a shot though the defense and into the goal to trim the lead to 2-1 with 24:39 remaining in the game.

“We’ve come back a lot of times, and we gave them a game in the second half,” Hostig said. “We changed up a lot of things that we were doing in the first half, and I think we dominated the second half, but we needed to get more opportunities as far as corners, and we didn’t get that. And they took advantage on their corners. They had a lot. My defense held in there very, very strongly, and you can only hold them out for so long having that many corners.”

“We knew they were going to be tough,” Broomhead said. “We tried to fill in every gap. . . . Once they scored, we knew that we had to rally back very quickly and keep the intensity up and the pressure going in order for us to win the game.”

That’s how it wound up, but not before some wild and strong saves by both goalies.

Meredith Farley came running out to make a save and kick the ball clear with 19:45 remaining.

And Niskayuna goalie Kristy Macri, a basketball cheerleader in the winter, came charging out and made a sliding save with 11:35 left in the contest.

“My splits in field hockey help me in cheerleading,” Macri said. “The girl was coming down by herself, and I saw someone else coming down too, and my defense was back because they tried to stop her, so I knew the only way to stop it was by cutting it off.”

“They played well both halves; we needed to play well both halves,” Hostig said.

In the Class B championship, sophomore Kate Gillepsie scored with 2:22 remaining in the second overtime to give Glens Falls a 1-0 victory over Johnstown.

Categories: High School Sports

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