Brandi Gonzalez saves Greenport/Southold
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What Brandi Gonzalez did Monday was kick up dust. In every sense.
The goalie made save after save -- lunging, sliding, swatting and literally kicking her Greenport/Southold field hockey team to a 1-0 shootout victory over Harborfields in Division III.
The grass is particularly sparse within the scoring circle of Greenport's field. So when either goalie made a stop -- and there were plenty -- the cage became engulfed in dust.
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"There's lots of times I'm crunching dirt back there,'' said Gonzalez, who had a season-high 23 stops before Toni Esposito, Victoria Hilton and Madison Tabor scored in a 3-0 shootout.
"I'm used to having dust in my face,'' Gonzalez said, chuckling. "It might be an advantage.''
There were several, uhh, dust-ups in front of the cage, but none bigger than with 1:32 left in overtime, when Harborfields (6-7) seemed sure to score on its ninth penalty corner. Gonzalez made a kick save, slid to deflect a put-back try and slapped away two more shots while almost supine.
"Brandi is just amazing,'' Esposito said. "She makes these great saves all the time and acts like it's routine.''
Sweeper Liz Powe got in on the act in OT with a defensive save on a Tornadoes breakaway.
Esposito scored first in the shootout, driving right and firing, across her body, while tumbling in a collision with Chandler Banks (nine saves). Gonzalez had one save in the shootout.
"Everyone was tired [by overtime] but the intensity was still there,'' Tabor said. "We wanted it badly.''
Greenport/Southold (5-8) shook up Suffolk's Class B playoff picture. Harborfields entered with a slight power-point lead over Shoreham-Wading River for the fourth and final berth. Now both teams' seasons will be decided in games Thursday.
For the Clippers, it also was a moral victory. They have made the playoffs once in the last decade, in 2011. Harborfields eliminated them and also defeated them earlier this year.
"Playoffs or not, this was the big game for us,'' coach Rebecca Lillis said. "This signifies our improvement and we know we've accomplished something."