BURNT HILLS — The reward was different, and the outcome after another overtime shootout between Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake and Saratoga Springs was, too.
Molly Pochobradsky scored Burnt Hills’ second goal in the sudden-victory round of the shootout, and after a Saratoga drive sailed wide of the cage, the Spartans had what goes down as a 1-0 semifinal triumph in the Suburban Council field hockey tournament Wednesday night.
Saratoga (No. 3 seed, 9-5) had handed Burnt Hills (No. 2, 11-2) one of its two defeats earlier this month in the same fashion, with Riley Jameson’s sudden victory goal deciding that one.
“We have eight seniors. We didn’t want it to end,” said Pochobradsky, a junior forward. “You try to do it for the team, for your seniors.”
One of them, goalkeeper Senja Matson, poked the ball away from Lauren Barlow on Saratoga’s bid to tie, and Barlow then fired wide right to end the marathon and send Burnt Hills on to Friday’s title game at Shenendehowa (No. 1, 12-1).
“It was definitely hard to keep that out of my head,” Matson said of Saratoga’s sudden victory win back on Nov. 2. “It was all about my mindset. Keeping my head clear.”
Both teams had recorded two goals in five attempts in the shootout session after they played to a scoreless draw through regulation and a 10-minute 7-on-7 overtime.
In the sudden-victory session, Paige Thowe of Burnt Bills and Aubrey Ide of Saratoga scored, both teams came up empty, and then Pochobradsky delivered when she dribbled forward and then right, and found the cage with a solid rip.
Pochobradsky’s attempt in the shootout earlier ended when Saratoga netminder Emma Piccirillo came out and steered her attempt aside.
“I didn’t score on the first one, and on the second one I said to myself, ‘I’m going to try my best,'” Pochobradsky said. “My thought was be confident and keep the ball on my stick.”
“We had a shootout the last time with them,” Burnt Hills coach Kelly Vrooman said. “You don’t know how it’s going to turn out.”
While Burnt Hills had the upper hand through most of the first four quarters, the overtime was a back-and-forth series of opportunities. Early on, Amelia Landry of Burnt Hills hit the left post with a drive, and late in the OT, the junior stopped a shot with her stick.
“I’m definitely thankful for that,” Matson said of Landry’s game-saving play.
Piccirillo denied Jocelyn Hild with a save in the final seconds of overtime. Hild had amassed three goals and five assists in Burnt Hills’ two games before the semifinal.
“We were really frustrated because we had a lot of opportunities,” Pochobradsky said. “[Before the shootout], we knew we could do it. We knew we had good stick handlers and a good goalie.”
Matson made her only save in regulation with 2:25 left.
“On defense, we hung in there real well. They had looks and we turned them back time and time again,” Saratoga coach Jo-Anne Hostig said. “On offense, we needed more opportunities.”
Vrooman was lamenting the opportunities her team failed to cash in on over the first four quarters.
“We dominated the corners and dominated the shots. You have to make it happen in the game,” Vrooman said, before adding. “What I liked is how they kept at it.”
Burnt Hills and Shenendehowa split two games during the regular season. Burnt Hills’ win came in an overtime shootout.
“It will definitely be a challenge,” Matson said of Friday’s tournament final. “We’ve got to give it all we’ve got.”
Burnt Hills will be looking to add a Suburban Council tournament title to the eight straight Section II Class B championships it earned from 2012-19.
Saratoga 0 0 0 0 0 – 0
Burnt Hills 0 0 0 0 0 – 1
Burnt Hills won shootout 4-3
Saratoga Springsscoring: None. Burnt Hills scoring: None. Goalkeepers: Saratoga Springs, Piccirillo, 9 saves. Matson, 2 saves.