Gilbride's goal in double OT gives Pierson-Bridgehampton its first state Class C field hockey title

Pierson-Bridgehampton celebrates winning the Class C state title. Pierson-Bridgehampton celebrates winning the Class C state title. (Nov. 17, 2013) Photo Credit: Nick Serrata

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CICERO, N.Y. - Kasey Gilbride will hang hers on the wall of her bedroom.

Kirra McGowin will get hers encased.

Coach Shannon Judge said she might sleep with hers on for a few days.

Gold medals!

Pierson-Bridgehampton won its first field hockey state championship Sunday in a fashion that even Hollywood might've found difficult to script:

Gilbride, the battered and bruised superstar, drove between three defenders and scored with 38 seconds left in double overtime, lifting the Whalers to a 1-0 victory over Cazenovia in the state Class C final.

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"This is unbelievable," Gilbride said. "It hasn't sunk in yet."

Perhaps it will at the parade. Oh, yes, Sag Harbor had one planned to celebrate its champions.

"We have a small community, but the support is amazing," Gilbride said. "I'm looking forward to [the parade] more than anything."

But a look back is necessary to fully appreciate Pierson's run. During the playoffs, with the Whalers' series of close victories, senior Katherine Matthers noted the similarities to their 2010 season. That, too, resulted in an improbable trip to the state final and a nail-biting overtime contest with Cazenovia.

Except that time, the medals the Whalers received were silver. "But this time, Kasey did it!" McGowin said.

Gilbride drove off the right wing -- with Matthers shouting instructions -- and once a crowd converged, she lunged forward and sent a reverse into the left corner. As the delirious Whalers charged the field and screamed, several former players -- many from the 2010 team -- looked on with tears of joy.

"It's perfect," Judge said, still giddy. "This is the fairy tale ending we imagined."

And it almost wasn't. The Lakers dominated most of the second half, had a 15-7 advantage in penalty corners and created several scoring opportunities. But the Whalers' defense, led by India Hemby and Allura Leggard, made that moot. Samantha Duchemin had two of her nine saves in overtime, one on a corner with 4:22 left for Pierson (16-4).

Former players Abby Gawronski and Alexa Lantiere created a Facebook page called the "The Legacy of Pierson-Bridgehampton." During the playoffs, more than 100 ex-Whalers, some from the 1980s squads, chimed in with messages of encouragement for the current team.

As for the legacy of this group? Matthers summed it up: "We made history."

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Gold medals!

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