High School Field Hockey

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Leftovers: Locust Valley vs. Clarke

Clarke's Emma Foster with the ball during the

Clarke's Emma Foster with the ball during the Nassau High School field hockey game. (Oct. 12, 2011) (Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy)

Here are some details and things said - that didn't make the newspaper article - following Clarke's 3-2 win over Locust Valley on Wednesday. If you haven't checked the article yet, you can by clicking here. And then be sure to come on back to the blog.

Demi Shanahan scored the winner with 3:39 left for Clarke

The goal: “It’s an extraordinary feeling, knowing you just got a late goal and now you’re ahead. You hear everyone screaming and then you just want to find a teammate to hug… But then you know there’s time left and you have to keep [the lead] so there’s still a lot of pressure.”

Emma Foster tied the score at 2 with 12:10 left

Scoring the tying goal: “When that ball goes in, it’s so exciting and your adrenaline is pumping. Once we get it tied up, we know we’re gonna get it. We thrive under pressure.”

The team’s propensity for playing close: “For some reason, we start off slow, then we pick it up and keep going. As soon as the second half came, we were ready to go.”

Pulling out another win: This is so much fun. It’s a great feeling knowing we’re still undefeated. We have three tough games next week, but I know we’ll do well because we’re a great team.”


Nicole “Gibs” Gibaldi had tied the score at 1 on a penalty stroke with 24:35 left. She faked right then shot the ball to her left, beyond the goalie’s lunge.

The penalty stroke: It was nerve-racking at first. As soon as they said “stroke” my face went pale… It’s a lot of pressure and you don’t want to mess it up. I eventually got excited and pumped up.”

How much momentum did that first score give the team: “I think it gave us a huge boost. Everyone was sprinting down the field and screaming.”

The team’s success: “I’ve been on varsity for three years and this is our best team by far. We work hard and we always want to be here. It’s not like, ‘We’ve got practice, oh no.’ We’re excited for practice and games… We lost in the first round of the playoffs last year, but this year we’re going all the way.”

The three ties: “It’s better than a loss.”

Locust Valley coach Sandy Jozefowski

What do you tell the team afterwards? “I tell them they’ve got to stick with it and keep working hard.  That’s what we’ve been doing all year. There’s a lot of talent on our field and we’re trying to use it the best game we can.”

The Falcons have lost three straight (to Manhasset, Cold Spring Harbor and Clarke). How do you bounce back from the tough losses: “We just do. We played a lot of tough teams; we played the top teams in the county to start conference play and now we’re gonna hang tough and roll through.”

The lack of depth: "It comes down to numbers. We don’t have a lot of legs on the bench and we get tired, so it’s tough. It’s a small school and we’re trying to build this program up… We just started this year the fifth and sixth-grade program, which is going to be big in helping the high school."

Leading scorer Bairre Reilly got hit in the hand with a stick early in the second half and left the game for a few minutes to get ice. Her condition: "She’s fine. She got hit on her finger but nothing’s broken. She got a little blood blister on the finger, but she’s OK. She’s a tough kid and she’s always ready to go."

(Reilly showed off some flashy stick skills, particularly on the play that led to Julia Palermo’s goal in the first half. Reilly, going left to right, weaved between three defenders, carried the ball on her stick, then dished off a scoop pass to Palermo for the score. This wasn’t loss on the Clarke players. As Jozefowski walked off the field, several of the Rams said, “Tell No. 6 she’s really good.”)

Clarke coach Leslie Murray

The challenge Locust Valley posed: “Every year, we always have great games against them. And we knew they were coming in strong. They had won League III and they’re playing very well. We saw they had played Cold Spring Harbor close [CSH won 2-0, both goals scored in the last five minutes]. Locust Valley always gives us a run for our money and they’ve got some talented players… We finally started putting some pressure on and got some goals.”

Clarke being outplayed at some stretches but being able to come back: “I think my defense is very strong and we have a good goalie. But when we get the ball up on the attack, we have a fast team and we get intense. Once we’re in that groove, we’re very good.”

Thoughts after Shanahan’s goal: “Slow the game down, keep possession and don’t let them get back at it. That No. 6 [Bairre Reilly] has some nice stick work and she’s dangerous.”

Reaction to going up 3-2 with 3:39 left: “I was nervous, still very nervous. We’ve put goals in at the end of games, so you know it’s possible. You never know what can happen; one bad bounce and it can go either way.”

The team’s resilience: “They’re a very feisty, spunky team. They’re laidback – off the field they’re chatty and friendly – but when it’s crunch time, they hit the switch and it becomes intense.”

Tags: Clarke , Locust Valley , Demi Shanahan , Nicole Gibaldi , Emma Foster , Bairre Reilly

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