Sachem East advances on penalty strokes

Sachem High School East's teammates celebrate against Greene

Sachem High School East's teammates celebrate against Greene Central School. (Nov. 19, 2011) Photo Credit: Pat Orr Photography

advertisement | advertise on newsday

CICERO, N.Y. -- Sachem East was new to all of this.

The players looked anxiously at their coach and the coach, herself with furrowed brows, was uncertain of what was proper to do.

Then the referees' signal . . . Yes, it was OK to rush the field.

After two overtimes and a round of penalty strokes, what was a few more seconds? The Flaming Arrows were going to the state field hockey championship game.

Katie Doherty's goal forced overtime and Katie Trombetta, Jessica Caruana and Kristen Bagley scored in strokes as Sachem East earned a 2-1 (3-0) victory over Greene Saturday in the Class A state semifinals at Cicero-North Syracuse.

"We didn't know if we were allowed on the field or not yet," Trombetta said of her team's delayed reaction to Jordan Miller's clinching save of a penalty stroke. "Hey, we're new to this."

advertisement | advertise on newsday

New to strokes; new to states. After never having won a county championship before, the Flaming Arrows made it to the state final.

"I was struggling to keep it in and stay composed," said Bagley, the most antsy on the bench after her score put the team up 3-0 in strokes. "To win a game like this, to do it how we did, and I'm too excited."

Miller's crouching save on Greene's last stroke preceded the brief pause, which ended when the officials gave Sachem East its cue to erupt.

The Flaming Arrows (20-1) will face Mamaroneck at 10 a.m. Sunday. "Pressure can either crush you or drive you to do better," said Miller, who had four saves after subbing in for Samantha Alvino, who made two first-half saves. "I believe we're going to win. We're doing this."

The Flaming Arrows being state tournament rookies has its benefits, coach Tina Moon said. "We don't know what to expect, so we just face each situation as it comes."

What they faced was a late deficit, a skilled defense and the "aggravation" of missed opportunities, Caruana said. Sachem East struggled early to adjust to Cicero's slick Astroturf field and Greene (17-1) dominated possession, taking the lead on Emma Anderson's goal at 8:23 of the first half.

It was midway through the second half, players said, when the Flaming Arrows seized control. But control alone, while trailing, means little unless it manifests in goals. Sachem East had four shots go wide of the cage, one deflect off goalie Julia Amell's chest, and another would-be goal was cleared on a defensive save.

Greene, too, had its share of almost-scores. The most glaring came with 21 minutes left when a shot from the left wing rolled untouched parallel and just inches from the goal line.

Then Doherty struck. She took a diagonal pass from Caruana about 7 yards left of the cage, drew the goalie toward her, then sent a hard roller into the far corner with 6:16 remaining to save Sachem East's season.

"You start to get a little nervous with time running out," Doherty said, "so I knew we had to have that."

advertisement | advertise on newsday

There were close calls in the extra periods, too. Sachem East cleared two Trojans penalty corners, and Bagley was run down on a breakaway with 2:16 left in the first overtime. But then strokes . . .

Trombetta lined one into the right corner; Caruana fired low into the left; Bagley launched it inside the left post. And the Flaming Arrows bought themselves another night in Syracuse.

"We couldn't go home yet," Caruana said. "We like hotel rooms."

Subscribe to Newsday’s high school sports weekly newsletter for the latest stories, scores and photos about Long Island high school sports events.

Comments now uses Facebook for our comment boards. Please read our guidelines and connect your Facebook account to comment.

You also may be interested in: