Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake field hockey wins 9th straight Section II Class B crown

The Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake field hockey team celebrates after beating South Glens Falls in the Section II Class B championship game on Sunday, Oct. 31 at Schuylerville High School.

The Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake field hockey team celebrates after beating South Glens Falls in the Section II Class B championship game on Sunday, Oct. 31 at Schuylerville High School.

SCHUYLERVILLE — Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake didn’t come away with a multi-goal championship game win like it had so many times before, but one quick swipe by Grace Todd proved to be enough.

Todd scored on a penalty corner in the second quarter, and Burnt Hills pinned down top-seeded South Glens Falls with a stingy defensive display to capture its ninth consecutive Section II Class B field hockey title Sunday morning at Schuylerville High School.

“We allowed too much possession,” Burnt Hills coach Kelly Vrooman said after her team prevailed in a one-goal game for only the second time during its title game streak. “It was scary at times.”

But just about every time a Bulldog found a seam, the Spartans collectively closed it off in the 1-0 win that included only two opposing shots on goal.

“They had girls with good stick skills, and we were able to shut them down,” said Todd, a senior middle back. “When a girl got beat, another girl was there.”

Burnt Hills goalie Katherine Jensen stopped the two shots that got through, while Todd, Caroline Kogut, Amelia Landry and Addisyn Knapik anchored the Burnt Hills defense that posted the program’s seventh shutout in the nine title game victories.

Only Sunday’s game and a 1-0 win over Queensbury in 2016 were decided by one-goal margins.

“It was really hard. They kept getting fast breaks, but we worked well together,” said Kogut, a sophomore. “It was really important to get the ball out of there. I feel we did extremely well.”

Burnt Hills players had an eye on the talented Willis sisters, Lillian and Jillian, who played a big role in the Bulldogs’ Foothills Council banner, run to the title game and 15-1 mark coming in. Lillian Willis delivered both goals in a 2-0 semifinal win over Scotia-Glenville.

“We don’t have Willis girls on our team,” Vrooman said. “We have a team.”

Todd played a significant role at both ends to help Burnt Hills (No. 2 seed, 15-3) advance to regional play next Sunday against the Section III Class B champ at Vernon-Verona-Sherrill.

“Grace worked so hard in this game,” Vrooman said. “She made big plays in the middle and matched up with the Willis kids.”

Todd also scored the only goal Burnt Hills needed, after beginning a penalty corner with an insert pass and then sliding to the left post.

“Jocelyn [Hild] had a nice hit,” Todd explained. “[Ameila] Landry deflected it and I smacked it into the net.

“It felt so good I literally broke into teams,” the four-year varsity veteran added. “I knew it would get us one step closer to keeping it [championship].”

Todd scored the first goal in Burnt Hills’ 6-0 semifinal win over Queensbury, that one also coming on a corner play from close range.

“It was huge,” Kogut said of Todd’s goal with 8:45 left in the second quarter. “It gave us all a spark. It set the tone for us to carry on and come out with a win.”

“We’ll celebrate now and work on the things we need to for the regionals,” Vrooman said.

Hild drew a yellow card for kicking the ball during a stoppage with 2:38 left, and Burnt Hills was a player down for the remainder of the fourth quarter as South Glens Falls pressed for a tie.

“We had to make sure nothing came from that,” Vrooman said. 

Burnt Hills won its 22nd consecutive Section II tournament game going back to the 2012 season. There was no sectional or state field hockey play last school year due to restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s always stressful going into a game that could be your last,” Todd said. “We wanted to play well and keep going.”

Before Burnt Hills’ record-setting Section II title run, Germantown (Class C 1982-87) and Hoosick Falls (Class B 1986-87, Class C 1988-91) had both strung together six consecutive championships.

Burnt Hills 0 1 0 0 — 1

South Glens Falls 0 0 0 0 — 0

Burnt Hills scoring: Todd 0-1, Landry 0-1. South Glens Falls scoring: None. Goalies: Burnt Hills, Jensen, 2 saves. South Glens Falls, Reynolds, 4 saves.

Categories: High School Sports, Sports

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