Anna Bottino was just warming up when she scored a goal in each of Shenendehowa’s three Section II playoff victories.
“The team was depending on her. She was a team leader. She stayed calm under pressure and executed,” Shenendehowa field hockey coach Jeanne Frevola said of the program’s latest all-state performer. “Certain kids rise to the occasion.”
Bottino did that again and again in a magnificent postseason performance that included at least one goal in five of six games. The senior twice delivered game-winning goals, and picked up three of her school-record 28 assists in another contest.
Bottino is joined on the all-state team by Suburban Council representatives Carrie Hanks of Niskayuna, Kelsey Briddell of Saratoga Springs and Helena Masiello of Columbia.
“It was a perfect year for her, with a big ending,” Frevola said of Bottino, a two-time first-team league all-star. “She knew where she was going to college and she just enjoyed playing. She savored each game. She savored each win.”
Shenendehowa finished with 20 of them, the last coming against Sachem East in the state Class A championship game, 3-2, when Bottino assisted on a second-half goal and later notched the last in a 1-on-1 shootout. The all-tournament team selection played more than 50 minutes of that game with a sprained ankle, the result of a first-half spill.
“The heart that kid showed,” said Frevola. “Her ankle was the size of a grapefruit that night.”
Bottino scored the first two goals in a 4-0 state semifinal win over Fairport, and the quick and aggressive team captain set up three goals when the Lady Plainsmen topped Fayetteville-Manlius, 5-1, in a regional contest.
In regular-season wins, Bottino collected three assists against Glens Falls, Columbia and Guilderland, and had four against Bethlehem. She had six career assists before this year.
“Last year, she tended to dribble a lot. We talked about making the first or second dodge, and then feeding, trust the others to do something with it,” said Frevola, on how Bottino’s assist record came about. “She worked on it all summer. She worked with the ADK coaches. She worked on her own.”
Bottino shared team goal-scoring honors with Erin Buckley, each finishing with 15. Bottino scored early in the first half in Shenendehowa’s 1-0 Section II title-game win over Niskayuna, and also connected in sectionals wins over Saratoga and Bethlehem.
Bottino genarated seven goals as a junior.
“She played defense, too,” said Frevola. “Midway through the year, I put her on defense for penalty corners. She was our strong-side cover and did a great job.”
Hanks is the second Niskayuna player to earn two all-state nods following Lindsay Mayo (2008, 2009). The Maryland-bound Hanks led the Silver Warriors to their third straight league title and fourth consecutive Section II final.
“A player like Carrie comes along once in a lifetime,” Niskayuna coach Alison Broomhead said of the national indoor team member and 2012 junior Olympian. “With Carrie in our lineup, we were in contention for league and Section II championships every year. Her skill set is the best you saw in Section II in many, many years.”
Hanks had 10 goals and 10 assists this season, and was fantastic in transition, dribbling, lofting the ball forward and drilling it harder than any area player.
She set up both game-winning goals when Niskayuna dealt Shenendehowa its only two losses in 1-0 and 2-1 thrillers.
“She continues to learn and she continues to improve,” said Broomhead. “She never settles. That’s what makes her so great.”
The two-year captain and two-time first-team league all-star finished her career with 32 goals and 23 assists. As a junior, the star midfielder spearheaded Niskayuna’s run to the state final four.
Briddell was one of the Suburban Council’s leading offensive threats with nine goals and seven assists in a breakout season.
“In other years, she helped set things up as a generator and a facilitator,” Saratoga coach Jo-Anne Hostig said of the first-team league all-star. “I told her early this year, ‘You have to finish it.’ That was her mission this year.”
The senior forward started the season with both goals in a 2-0 win over Niskayuna, and had the lone tally when the Blue Streaks clipped Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, 1-0. She also factored in each goal when Saratoga beat Glens Falls, 3-0, Guilderland, 4-0, and Columbia, 3-1.
“We would have been a very different team without her out there,” said Hostig.
Briddell finished with 15 goals and 10 assists in her three varsity seasons. She will room with Bottino at the University at Albany.
Masiello earned an all-state spot based on her superb stick skills and play-making ability from the midfield.
“She can carry the ball. She’ll take it and go,” said Helena’s mom, Columbia coach Dottie Masiello. “She doesn’t get tackled. She pulls and evades very well.”
Columbia had more scoring opportunities than in recent years because of the junior’s slick moves.
“We had double-digit corners every single game. She was instrumental in us getting those corners,” said Dottie Masiello. “In some cases, she would bring the ball down the field and into the circle and then make the play. It was hard not to notice her out there.”
The younger Masiello has totaled 16 goals and 10 assists in her three varsity seasons. She is a two-time Suburban Council first-team all-star.
“She’s done a good job each year of learning and improving her stick skills,” said Dottie Masiello. “It’s fun to see her evolve.”
Helena Masiello assisted on a goal in regulation, and later scored in both 1-on-1 shootout rounds when Columbia edged Section II Class B champ Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, 2-1, for its signature win. She also had a pair of two-goal performances in wins over Bethlehem and Shaker.
Bottino, Hanks, Briddell and Masiello helped ADK Blue go undefeated in its 19-under pool (6-0) at the National Field Hockey Festival in late November. Bottino, Hanks and Briddell also won gold with ADK at the 2012 festival.
Daily Gazette All-Area first-teamer Joe Cremo has a new role with the Scotia-Glenville basketball team, one filled so well by Andrew Tabbert last season when the Tartans won the Foothills Council title and claimed their second straight Section II Class A championship.
“Andrew was a one-man transition. He was a ball of energy for us,” Tartans coach Jim Giammattei said of the lone starter he lost to graduation. “We’re reshaping ourselves.”
Cremo has moved to the top of Scotia-Glenville’s 3-2 zone, giving the team scoring leader a different responsibility at that end of the court. Mike Palleschi, a valuable reserve last season, has taken
Cremo’s spot down low and joins with returning starter Dom LeMorta.
Returning starters Alex Sausville and Scott Stopera flank Cremo, with varsity veteran Schuyler Sayles and junior varsity graduate Joe Almond coming off the bench in support.
“I’ve always felt you put your best athlete right there. Joe up top, that’s not too bad of an option. He has such long arms,” said Giammattei. “Joe spent the last two years at the bottom of our zone, and he needs work, but I think he can be pretty good.”
Giammattei gave the Tartans’ defensive performance and ball distribution high marks in opening wins against Schalmont (88-49) and Cohoes (79-41).
“We had a nice combination of maximum effort on defense and sharing the wealth on offense,” he said. “It’s a fun group to watch.”
Cremo scored 26 points in each win, while LeMorta scored 15 against Schalmont and Sausville netted 16 against Cohoes. In the two games, the Tartans knocked down 20 three-point baskets.
“I thought the team did a tremendous job sharing the basketball,” said Giammattei. “More importantly, getting it to the right person, in the right spot, at the right time.”
Those two wins extended the Tartans’ Section II win streak to 29 games. They’ve also prevailed in 23 straight regular season games.
Their schedule includes a stop at Schenectady’s Arthur Hilliard Memorial Tournament later this month, where Newburgh Free Academy will be an opening-round opponent, and the first of two league games with Gloversville soon after. Down the road, there’s a possible sectional matchup with Troy.
“We’re well aware that in three weeks, we’re going to play Newburgh. After that, we’ve got the Gloversville game. They’re athletic and they’ve got everyone back,” said Giammattei. “We have enough on our schedule to keep us motivated.”
Scotia-Glenville logged 22 straight wins last season before a 58-53 loss to Bishop Ludden in the regional finals.