SARATOGA SPRINGS — Jo-Anne Hostig didn’t know who scored the first goal after a bunch of her Saratoga Springs field hockey players converged on the Columbia cage, so the veteran coach yelled to her celebrating cast to find out.
“We all did,” senior co-captain Erin Fleming responded.
“That’s my team,” Hostig fired back.
The all-for-one, one-for-all Blue Streaks were at it again Monday evening, sharing the scoring load and collectively defending in a 6-0 win over the Blue Devils to begin the Suburban Council tournament.
“It’s not about one person,” Fleming said after Saratoga defeated Columbia for the third time this fall. “It’s about all of us. You can’t do it alone.”
Five different players scored goals Monday, five Blue Streaks had an assist and Emma Piccirillo stopped the four shots that got through the busy defenders in front of her.
“We didn’t have that many starters returning, and it took us some time,” said Saratoga senior co-captain Jane Ginley, who was among the goal scorers in Monday’s first-round game. “We’ve really bonded, and now we’re here.”
Saratoga (No. 3 seed, 9-5) earned a trip to Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake (No. 2, 10-2) for a 5 p.m. Wednesday semifinal matchup. Saratoga made it five wins in six games Monday, with its stretch of success beginning with a 1-0 sudden victory win over perennial Section II Class B power Burnt Hills.
Burnt Hills had notched a 1-0 win over Saratoga in early October.
“We changed a lot of our system, we changed some people around and we really did a lot of reflecting,” Hostig said. “They bought into the fact that we have to play as a team. You can definitely see it.”
“We dug deep,” Fleming said of her team’s turnaround. “We’ve made COVID work.”
Saratoga’s only loss during its second-half run came against Suburban Council regular-season champion Shenendehowa 1-0 to conclude its league schedule. Saratoga was humbled by Shenendehowa 8-0 earlier in the season.
“We’ve just brought a whole new energy to it,” Ginley said.
Lauren Barlow scored that first goal for Saratoga 3:10 into Monday’s game after handling a pass from Riley Jameson. Lily Gutch made it 2-0 with 2:22 left in the first, assisted by Aubrey Ide.
Allie Shamberger scored twice in a three-goal third quarter as Saratoga pulled away from the Blue Devils (No. 6, 2-11).
“They’re playing as a team and getting it done,” Hostig said. “We’ve come a long way.”
And to go a little farther?
“It’s going to take heart and confidence,” Ginley said.
“And,” Fleming added. “Play as a team.”
Sophia Sericolo scored in the sudden victory round of the shootout to lift Guilderland (No. 4, 8-5) over Shaker (No. 5, 4-9) in Monday’s other first-round game 2-1 at Afrim’s.
Guilderland goalkeeper Bianca Simeone made two saves on Shaker’s bid to begin the sudden victory phase, setting the stage for Sericolo, who was the offensive star in last season’s Section II Class A title game.
“She comes up big in big moments,” Guilderland coach Jen Sykes said of Sericolo.
Kate Musser scored for Shaker in the third quarter and Sericolo answered for Guilderland later in the frame. Neither team scored in the 7-on-7 overtime or in the shootout that followed.
“Shaker came to play today,” said Sykes, whose team had beaten the Blue Bison twice during league play. “I was impressed with their kids’ work ethic.”
Guilderland will play its semifinal Wednesday at 4:15 p.m. at Shenendehowa (No. 1, 11-1). Shenendehowa owns two wins over Guilderland, and its only loss came in a shootout against Burnt Hills.
SARATOGA SPRINGS 6, COLUMBIA 0
Columbia 0 0 0 0 — 0
Saratoga Springs 2 0 3 1 — 6
Columbia scoring: None. Saratoga Springs scoring: Shamberger 2-0, Frasier 1-0, Flatley 0-1, Ginley 1-0, Ide 0-1, Fleming 0-1, Jameson 0-1, Barlow 1-0, Gutch 1-1. Goalkeepers: Columbia, Venable, 11 saves. Saratoga Springs, Piccirillo, 4 saves.
GUILDERLAND 2, SHAKER 1 (SO)
Shaker 0 0 1 0 0 — 1
Guilderland 0 0 1 0 0 — 2
Guilderland won shootout 1-0
Shaker scoring: Musser 1-0. Guilderland scoring: Sericolo 1-0. Goalkeepers: Shaker, Testo, 16 saves. Guilderland, Simione, 6 saves.