ALDEN — Sophomore forward Kalena Eaton scored with three seconds left in the first overtime to lift the Johnstown field hockey team to a 3-2 state Class C semifinal win over Carle Place Saturday at frigid Alden High School.
Johnstown built a 2-0 halftime lead and saw it slip away before Eaton’s 13th goal sent the Lady Bills (20-0) to Sunday’s championship game at 10 a.m. against Bronxville (Section I, 16-3-2).
“It’s the biggest stage we have been on, and everyone handled it beautifully,” Johnstown coach Christine Krempa said in a telephone interview.
Emily Fleming’s drive late in the first 7-on-7 overtime deflected off a defender, and Eaton knocked the ball in to give Johnstown an opportunity to win its fifth state title and first since 1990.
“It makes me really happy that we came this far,” Easton said in an interview on the NYSPHSAA Twitter account. “We didn’t even know if we would have a team this season. Just to know that we are going to the state finals, I’m so proud of the whole team.”
Fleming had a shot go just wide with 20 seconds left in regulation.
“We almost ended it right there,” Krempa said.
Taryn Ringer scored a pair of first-half goals for Johnstown — boosting her season total to 44 — and Emiline Biggin scored twice on penalty corners in the second half for Long Island champ Carle Place (Section VIII, 8-8). Biggin’s tying goal came with 10:33 left.
“We definitely dominated the first half,” Krempa said. “They made some adjustments to take away what was working for us, and the second half was more back and forth.”
Johnstown has won all three of its state tournament games by a single goal since beating Schuylerville 7-0 for its first Section II title since 2011.
Bronxville defeated Barker (Section VI, 17-4) in Saturdays other semifinal 2-0.
“At this point, they’re just as good as we are,” Krempa said. “It’s about heart and hustle.”
Last spring, sports programs were eliminated from the Johnstown school budget for the 2019-20 school year, and a successful fundraising campaign followed which enabled the school’s teams to compete.
“Six months ago, we didn’t know if this could happen,” Krempa said.