When you maintain possession of the ball for long stretches of play, good things are bound to happen.
Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake did that Wednesday night, and now the Spartans have an opportunity to keep possession of the Section II Class B field hockey championship they’ve had a grip on since the fall of 2012.
“Possession is the game,” Burnt Hills coach Kelly Vrooman said after her team knocked off Queensbury 6-0 in the sectional semifinal game at Centennial Field. “We minimized their opportunities. We don’t have a clock on time of possession, but it was definitely in our favor.”
Grace Todd scored 66 seconds into the game, Amelia Landry scored three goals for the first time in her four-year varsity career, and Burnt Hills continually thwarted Queensbury in what was its 21st consecutive Section II tournament victory.
“It started at our midfield,” said Landry, one of five Burnt Hills seniors who played their final home game. “A lot of time they didn’t get to our defense.”
Queensbury (No. 3 seed, 13-5) rarely penetrated the circle and managed only two penalty corners, while Burnt Hills (No. 2, 14-3) was awarded 16 corners and cashed in on one in each quarter.
Landry’s three goals came on corners in the second, third and fourth quarters, and Todd began the Spartans’ scoring binge on a corner. Sophomore Caroline Kogut had the first of her three assists on that tally by Todd.
“The first goal was so big. It set the tone. It happened so quickly,” Landry said. “It brought us all up and boosted our confidence level to score the next five.”
Like Landry and Todd, Jocelyn Hild, Molly Pochobradsky and Emily Brooks were the other Burnt Hills 12th-graders who enjoyed a win in their last home contest.
“All of our seniors stepped up today,” Vrooman said. “That’s why you have seniors.”
Hild had a goal and an assist, and eighth-grader Lily Mastrella had a goal while playing a key role with her sideline runs.
“We just played so well together,” Todd said. “It feels really good to come out with a nice win in our last game at home.”
Dani Hand, Kendal Kelsey and the other Queensbury players were never able to gather offensive momentum like they did in a 9-0 quarterfinal win against Emma Willard. Hand generated four goals in that win, and Kelsey scored two.
“I told them, ‘This game is all about effort. If you match it [Queensbury’s], you’ll come out on top,’ ” Vrooman said.
Burnt Hills will again be looking to come out on top Sunday at 10 a.m. when it meets up with South Glens Falls (No. 1, 15-1) in the title game at Schuylerville. The Bulldogs beat Scotia-Glenville (No. 4, 10-7) in Wednesday’s other semifinal 2-0.
The last time Burnt Hills lost a sectional game was in the 2011 Class B semifinals against Johnstown. Among Burnt Hills’ eight area championship-game wins since then, two came against South Glens Falls and five came against Queensbury.
No Section II or state-level competitions were offered last school year due to restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We always say with our team it takes more than good field hockey,” Todd said as she thought about Sunday’s game. “It takes heart and drive. We have a legacy.”
“It takes grit,” Landry added.
Foothills Council champ South Glens Falls lost only to Saratoga Springs in a non-league game in the regular season. Burnt Hills beat Saratoga twice on its way to the Suburban Council top spot.
“The fact that we play in a Class A league gives us a little extra boost,” Vrooman said.
Queensbury 0 0 0 0 — 0
Burnt Hills 1 2 1 2 — 6
Queensbury scoring: None. Burnt Hills scoring: Landry 3-0, C. Kogut 0-3, J. Hild 1-1, Todd 1-0, Mastrella 1-0, Connelie 0-1, Pochobradsky 0-1. Goalies: Queensbury, Snow, 4 saves. Burnt Hills, Jensen, 1 save.