In the euphoria of this win, Kasey Gilbride couldn't help but reflect on last year's county final.
In that game, with a little under two minutes left, the Pierson/Bridgehampton field hockey star was issued a yellow card and had to watch the clock wind down on her junior season, as rival Southampton celebrated.
On Thursday night, though, with a little under two minutes left, Gilbride was on the field and in a familiar position: lining a shot into the cage. The forward scored twice and her defense dominated as the top-seeded Whalers beat Southampton, 3-0, in the Suffolk Class C final.
"You should have the same mentality for every game," Gilbride said, "but this one I wanted 10 times more, because of the history."
History for her team, as well. Pierson won the L.I. title in 2010, but was stunned in the two county finals that followed.
Not this time. Emme Luck got the Whalers (12-4) on the board with 26:21 left. India Hemby collected a deflected penalty corner shot and fed the forward for the goal. "That got the momentum going," Luck said.
Indeed, as Gilbride scored off a pass from Katherine Matthers three minutes later.
Pierson's defense, led by Kirra McGowin and midfielder Ana Sherwood, limited Southampton's opportunities in the second half. Samantha Duchemin needed only one save in the win. Alex Ambrose had 10 saves for No. 2 Southampton (11-6), which made the state final last year.
"Without losing, I don't think you appreciate winning as much," said Gilbride, whose goal with 1:45 left made it 3-0. "I wouldn't be as thrilled as I am right now if not for last year."