The magnitude of the situation hit Natalie Langella when she looked up at the scoreboard to see the 10-second countdown.
"I had the ball and I thought to myself, take as much time as possible because we were winning that game," said Langella, a Northport field hockey junior forward. "When the buzzer went down, we were like, 'Wow, we just beat Sachem East."
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The excitement after Northport's 3-2 win Friday is understandable. Sachem East hadn't lost a regular-season game since falling 3-1 to Smithtown East on Oct. 24, 2011.
Northport ended the streak thanks to a go-ahead goal by senior Noelle Peragine, assisted by Langella off a penalty corner with 14:18 left in regulation. Langella, who scored on a breakaway five minutes into the second half, had a goal and two assists on the day.
Freshman Kate Gilligan started the game in net and combined with sophomore Ryan Dowling for 13 saves.
"A goal of any team really is to beat Sachem East," Langella said. The Flaming Arrows have won the Long Island Class A championship each of the last four years. Cara Trombetta, Newsday's reigning Long Island Player of the Year, leads the team, which entered the season looking nearly invincible.
Northport coach Gina Walling said the win was like a mini championship. At least, the crowd felt like it was, she said.
"The parents, even the fathers, I haven't seen the dads so into a field hockey game," Walling said. "They were jumping up and down and were excited. Half of our team was on their phones after the field cleared off telling the alumni they won."
Peragine said high emotions made her temporarily forget that she scored the game winner. She added that the win gives much needed confidence to a young team.
"Everyone's playing up to a different potential," Peragine said. "Now my team thinks they can walk on the field and get it done, and I think that will help us in the future in tough games."