BURNT HILLS — Paige Thowe was well aware that a goal off her stick would give her Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake field hockey team a shootout win over rival Shenendehowa Monday night.
The senior forward also knew her left hand was hurting pretty good, and she couldn’t handle her stick quite the way she wanted.
“I have a signature move, but with my hand I couldn’t do it, so I just winged it,” Thowe said.
Winging it worked, with Thowe using a spin move and backhand drive to provide the Spartans with their third goal to the Plainsmen’s one in a tense Suburban Council victory.
“We’re really tough. We’re willing to fight,” said Thowe, who had her left thumb and wrist taped up after getting struck with the ball in the third quarter. “Shenendehowa is the same way. That’s what made it such a great game.”
Jocelyn Hild and Amelia Landry also scored for Burnt Hills (4-0) in the shootout, which came after last year’s Suburban Council co-champions battled to a 0-0 draw through four quarters and a 7-on-7, 10-minute overtime.
“Shenendehowa is a great program,” Burnt Hills coach Kelly Vrooman said. “They’re like a layer of teeth. One goes, and another one pops in. They’re always good.”
Monday night in the rain, the Spartans were just a wee bit better.
“It was a great game for the fans to watch,” Vrooman said. “Really, it could have gone either way.”
Burnt Hills’ goalkeeper Senja Matson made a save, saw a shot miss the cage and kicked the ball aside on Shenendehowa’s first three shootout attempts before Hannah Merritt connected for the Plainsmen to make it 2-1. Thowe’s goal won the game moments later.
“There was a tremendous amount [of pressure] on me,” said Matson, a senior. “My thought was, it was me or them.”
Hild scored on Burnt Hills’ second attempt and Landry on its third to help Burnt Hills win a game that matched a Spartans team that won the last nine Section II Class B titles against against a Shenendehowa team (2-1) that had reached the last 10 Section II Class A finals and won five of them.
“It feels like all the work we put in and the tough love by coach paid off,” Matson said.
Matson made a clutch close-range save in overtime, and Shenendehowa’s Payton Kisling stopped two quality shots in the OT, including one on a penalty corner after time had run out. Kisling later stopped Burnt Hills’ first bid in the shootout.
“It was back and forth,” Thowe said. “There was a lot of skill and high intensity out there. You just try to go as hard as possible.”
Burnt Hills had five penalty corners in each half and that one in overtime. Shenendehowa had two corners in the first half, six in the second and none in the OT.
In the shootout, athletes start at the 25-yard line before going one-on-one with the opposing goalkeeper, and there are up to five shooters per round.
Shenendehowa 0 0 0 0 0 – 0
Burnt Hills 0 0 0 0 0 – 1
Burnt Hills won shootout 3-1
Shenendehowa scoring: None. Burnt Hills scoring: None. Goalkeepers: Shenendehowa, Kisling, 13 saves. Burnt Hills, Matson, 4 saves.