Shenendehowa High School’s state champion field hockey team was honored last week by government officials with a congratulatory legislative resolution.
The Lady Plainsmen became just the second Section II Class A team to capture a New York State Public High School Athletic Association title in November, when they rallied past Sachem East, 3-2, at Cicero-North Syracuse High School.
“They pulled out all the stops for us,” said Shenendehowa coach Jeanne Frevola. “It was a cool day for the kids. We all had a good time.”
Frevola said the invitaton came from Jim Tedisco, and the New York State Assemblyman served as Shenendehowa’s host during the visit to the Capitol Building.
“He was joking around, saying how it was the first time one of his resolutions got passed unanimously,” said Frevola.
The resolution makes note of Shenendehowa’s on-field accomplishments including its school-record 81 goals, but also the team’s sportsmanship and standout academic standing, as well as the fine work done by Frevola and assistant coaches Julie Parsons and Shawn Eggleston.
“It was a group of kids who were very good at a young age. We wanted to keep them together, so we pulled them all up as ninth-graders,” said Frevola. “I remember Shawn saying, ‘This is going to be the group.’”
Shenendehowa trailed by two goals at the half in the state final. The Lady Plainsmen evened the contest on tallies by Molly Hagen and Rachel Picchi, and won the game on a drive by Anna Bottino in a one-on-one overtime shootout.
Sachem East had claimed the previous two state titles and entered the final with a 21-0 record.
“We kicked it up,” Frevola said of her team’s comeback. “We didn’t panic. I told the girls, ‘We had to get corners and we had to get shots off.’”
Shenendehowa finished its season with a 20-2 record. Both of its losses (2-1 and 1-0) came against Niskayuna, and Shenendehowa got some payback when it edged the Silver Warriors in the Section II championship game, 1-0, on a goal by Bottino.
“We had a plan,” said Frevola. “We came up with some new stuff and it worked. That was our toughest game before we got to the state final.”
Shenendehowa beat Fayetteville-Manlius in a regional game and topped Fairport in the state semifinals before taking down Sachem East.
“All of our girls peaked at the right time,” said Frevola.
Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake was the first state Class A champion from Section II in 1987. Hoosick Falls won the state Class C title that same year with Frevola serving as the Panthers’ coach.
LaValley likes his team
Guilderland turned its baseball season around late last season and came within a win of reaching the Section II Class AA championship game.
“We definitely want to pick up where we left off,” said Dutchmen coach Doug LaValley. “I’ve got the guys to do it. They’ve worked so hard for this season and they’re going to give it everything they’ve got. This could be a special team.”
Guilderland has 10 returning players led by tri-captains Zach Formica, Cory Moore and Jacob Sturn. The lettermen group also includes the sophomore pitching tandem of Nick Bruno and Matt Pierce, and Ben Govel, who homered when the Dutchmen stunned overall Suburban Council champ Columbia in the sectional quarterfinals.
“These guys do a lot of good things,” said LaValley. “I’ve got athletes, and I’ve got arms. I’ve got five lefty pitchers, and I haven’t had that in my whole career.”
Guilderland needed three wins in its last three games to reach .500 in the Suburban Council and make the 2013 sectionals, and got them by downing Mohonasen, Averill Park and Colonie. The Dutchmen went on to beat Ballston Spa and then Columbia before a semifinal loss to Shaker.
“I like what I’ve got, but we’re going to have to battle through some adversity. You’re always going to face some,” said LaValley. “That’s when you find out what kind of team you have.”
Here and there
Fonda-Fultonville, Amsterdam and five-time defending Section II Class C champion Hoosick Falls will open their football seasons at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse as part of the Kickoff Classic. The event will run Sept. 5-7, and matchups, dates and times have yet to be determined. Schenectady played Fayetteville-Manlius at the Kickoff Classic last season and lost, 55-20.
According to the New York State Sportswriters Association, the boys’ Federation basketball tournament will need a temporary new home in 2015 as the Times Union Center in Albany is unavailable March 28-31 because the building is hosting an NCAA women’s basketball regional.