Katie Kerner was aware of the history between the girls’ lacrosse teams from Shenendehowa and Guilderland, and the one-sided nature of it.
“The last time we beat them was 2006. That definitely gave us motivation,” said the Lady Plainsmen senior. “It motivates you when you haven’t beaten a team in so long.”
Kerner scored the goal that put Shenendehowa ahead for good, and later took a successful draw that sealed the Lady Plainsmen’s dramatic, drought-ending 11-9 Suburban Council victory over the Lady Dutch Thursday at Steuerwald Stadium.
Kendra Harbinger notched four goals, including the clincher, in her finest performance this season, Kerner finished with two goals and two assists, and Lexi Keen made nine saves as part of Shenendehowa’s first win against Guilderland since a 15-11 Section II Class A semifinal triumph 10 years ago.
“It was a great game of lacrosse. Guilderland, they’re good. They’re good, but we believed we could win the game,” said Shenendehowa coach Jen Sykes, who worked the clock in that semifinal contest. “It was our time.”
“Guilderland is such an amazing team,” said the LeMoyne-bound Kerner. “To come out with a win is an incredible feeling.”
Shenendehowa (9-1, 10-2) went on a five-goal, opening-half run to go up, 6-3, before Rebecca Golderman and Cara Quimby answered for Guilderland (7-2, 8-3), and the teams were never separated by more then two goals the rest of the way in their only regular-season meeting.
“It came down to a couple of little things,” said Guilderland coach Carrie Britt. “It came down to a matter of three, four minutes.”
Harbinger’s last goal with 2:25 left, a bouncer past Kelsey Cox, was followed by Kerner’s draw flick which Jordyn Marr scooped up, and Shenendehowa played keepaway the rest of the way.
“One of the major things with such a good team is to control the ball,” said Kerner. “Without the ball, you can’t do much.”
Guilderland had the ball more and scored more in 15 consecutive games against Shenendehowa leading up to Thursday’s heavyweight tilt. Guilderland won the previous meeting, 18-8, in the 2014 sectional semifinals, when it advanced to its eighth straight championship game.
“When you lose to a team 15 times in a row, they clearly have the upper hand,” said Sykes. “This was a confidence boost, for sure. We’ve come to the point where we believe we can compete with everyone.
“We’re going to take a day or two to enjoy this and soak in how far we’ve come.”
Guilderland came in with a five-game winning streak capped by Tuesday’s 18-6 victory over Saratoga Springs.
“That result against Saratoga kind of shocked the lacrosse world. Saratoga is good. That opened our eyes. We knew we needed that big performance,” said Sykes. “We came up with a very good game plan. I’m proud of the kids the way they executed it.”
Kerry Gerety pulled Guilderland into a 7-7, second-half tie before Kerner broke it with 18:37 left, and Meg Pendergast extended Shenendehowa’s advantage at the 14:32 mark.
“When they tied it up, we knew we had to keep firing,” said Kerner.
Izzy Sericolo and Gerety sandwiched goals around a Rachael Picchi tally to get the Lady Dutch within 10-9 at the 4:49 mark, and soon after Ava Katinas bounced a free position attempt past Cox (six saves), Harbinger connected.
Harbinger also scored twice in Shenendehowa’s 5-0 run after Quimby’s two goals helped the Lady Dutch build an early 3-1 lead.
“She is figuring it out. Her lacrosse IQ had increased tremendously,” Sykes said of Harbinger, a sophomore who entered the game with 14 goals. “She’s always watching videos of games and asking, ‘What can I do more?’ ”
Keen’s nine saves included three stops on free position bids.
“The bottom line is you have to have a goalkeeper for this to happen,” said Sykes of her junior netminder. “She made nine saves, and some of them were critical.”
Sericolo, like Quimby, finished with three goals for the Lady Dutch.
“We’ll learn from it,” said Quimby, Guilderland’s Syracuse-bound standout. “We’ll go back to practice, make a few adjustments and try to get better.”
Guilderland 6 3 — 9
Shenendehowa 7 4 — 11
Guilderland scoring: Cara Quimby 3-0, Rebecca Golderman 1-2, Kerry Gerety 2-1, Izzy Sericolo 3-0. Shenendehowa scoring: Katie Kerner 2-2, Jordyn Marr 2-0, Kendra Harbinger 4-0, Meg Pendergast 1-0, Lauren Gray 1-0, Rachael Picchi 1-0.
Goalkeepers: Guilderland, Kelsey Cox, 6 saves. Shenendehowa, Lexi Keen, 9 saves.