SARATOGA SPRINGS — So many things were new when Saratoga Springs met Guilderland in a Suburban Council field hockey opener Saturday, from the field they played on, to the four quarters they waged, and to the masks they wore in this fall season so impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Dutch brought a new label into the contest, too, that of a first-time Section II champion, though in the end it was the Blue Streaks who celebrated a 1-0 victory after an overtime goal by Aubrey Ide.
“Our coach was so proud. She had tears in her eyes,” Ide said after delivering the game’s only goal in the final seconds of the 7-on-7 overtime.
Saratoga’s JVs picked up the first victory on Saratoga’s new field located behind the high school before coach Jo-Anne Hostig’s group with just a handful of returning starters notched the first varsity win there.
“This is a dream come true,” Hostig said. “It’s awesome. I’ve wanted this [turf field] for 16 years, and I know the kids could feel it.”
Ide knocked in the game-winning goal after Guilderland netminder Bianca Simeone came out of the cage and stopped scoring bids by Erin Fleming first, and then Lauren Barlow while sprawling on the turf.
“Their goalie and their whole team was good,” said Ide, a sophomore forward. “We wanted it. It was really a team effort.”
“In regulation, we would get a shot off, but no rebound,” Hostig said. “We got shot, shot, shot. It was like a bubble and we weren’t letting the ball out of it.”
Simeone, who was among the stars in Guilderland’s 2-1 overtime Section II title-game win over Shenendehowa in 2019 and excelled again Saturday, made her seventh and eighth saves before Ide’s tally.
“I was very pleased with my goaltender,” Guilderland coach Jen Sykes said. “It wasn’t her responsibility at that point. It’s the job of the defense, when they see their goalie in trouble, to step in and clear the ball.”
Scoring opportunities were few in the initial four quarters before action picked up considerably afterward, with Guilderland awarded three penalty corners and Saratoga two in the extra session. This is the first season scholastic teams are playing four 15-minute quarters rather than two 30-minute halves.
“I don’t like the four quarters,” Sykes said. “I think it kills the momentum of the game. It feels choppy.”
Hostig agreed, but thinks it will help in recovery this season with players and referees running so much while wearing the mandatory masks.
“I do this year,” Hostig said when asked if she liked the four-quarter setup. “I like that there are breaks.”
The wearing of masks and their effect was a chief factor in the Suburban Council leaders deciding to eliminate a second 7-on-7 10-minute overtime this season. Had Saturday’s game been scoreless after the first 7-on-7 OT, it would have gone to the 5-on-5 shootout, but Ide’s goal and a nine-save effort by Emma Piccirillo made that scenario moot.
“We played up like we weren’t underdogs,” Hostig said. “My girls took it to heart. They’re [Guilderland] the defending section champions, and they wanted to win, too.”
Seniors from both teams were honored in a brief ceremony before the inaugural varsity game on Saratoga’s new field.
“It’s new. It’s beautiful,” Sykes said. “It will take a little while to break it in, but it’s a wonderful field they built here.”
Halftime score: 0-0. End of regulation: 0-0. Guilderland scoring: None. Saratoga Springs scoring: Ide 1-0. Goalies: Guilderland, Simeone 8 saves. Saratoga Springs, Piccirillo 9 saves.
Reach Jim Schiltz at [email protected] or
@jim_schiltz on Twitter.
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