Defending champion Guilderland field hockey grateful to play

Guilderland head coach Jen Sykes is shown during Saturday's game.
PHOTOGRAPHER:
Guilderland head coach Jen Sykes is shown during Saturday's game.

Categories: High School Sports, Sports

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Of course, Sophia Sericolo and the rest of the Guilderland field hockey team wanted to win Saturday’s Suburban Council season-opening game at Saratoga Springs, but afterward, following a 1-0 setback on the Blue Streaks’ new turf, the senior midfielder looked at a much bigger picture.

“We’re so grateful to have this opportunity to play when some other teams are not,” Sericolo said. “I feel for the other teams.”

Guilderland and Saratoga are among the seven Section II schools playing field hockey this fall, while the others schools, due to COVID-19 concerns, will compete in the “Fall II” season that is scheduled to begin March 1. That group includes one Suburban Council member, Bethlehem.

Through club ball, many of the Guilderland and Bethehem players are friends.

“I know Bethlehem would like to play, and we would love to play with them,” Sericolo said.

Of the league teams that are playing, Sericolo is hoping to lead her Guilderland team to the top of the pack. With no Section II and state-level playoffs scheduled this fall, that’s the most the Dutch can aim for.

“She’s good. She’s all over the place,” Saratoga Springs coach Jo-Anne Hostig said of Sericolo, who has been playing the game since she was in third grade. “She controls what goes on.”

Sericolo made some excellent transition passes Saturday, but was unable to connect when she got in the circle, like she did last year in Guilderland’s first Section II Class A title-game appearance when she scored in first half and again in the second 7-on-7 overtime in a 2-1 win over Shenendehowa.

She added another goal when Guilderland made a little more program history last fall by beating Baldwinsville 3-1 in a state regional semifinal game.

“It was a good game,” Sericolo said after Saratoga edged her team on an overtime goal by sophomore Aubrey Ide. “It could have gone either way.”

“We had two corners [in overtime] that I thought we should have closed the game out with,” Guilderland coach Jen Sykes said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do.”

Guilderland dug in and did that last season when it started with six straight losses and ended up as Section II’s top large-school team.

“It’s discouraging to lose, but this will motivate us to work harder and get better. It definitely shows us what we need to improve on,” Sericolo said, before adding. “Think of last year. You need to lose a few games to get better.”

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