Sachem East was stunned by Smithtown East, a perfect season marred and the team's pride bruised by an unexpected loss to its rival. Still, Katie Trombetta found a silver lining.
"It shook us up and showed us we need to keep striving to get better," the midfielder said of the loss.
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That was two years ago. In the regular season.
And all the Flaming Arrows' field hockey team has done since then is win -- every single game.
It came full circle Saturday night as Taylor Giordano scored twice, leading Sachem East to a 3-0 win over Smithtown East in the Suffolk Class A final, the team's third straight county title and its 47th consecutive victory.
"I'm proud of myself," Giordano said, giddy and grinning between sentences. "But to get this done took a piece of every person, and so many things go into winning a championship."
Clearly, the Flaming Arrows have the formula, and a key component Saturday night was Giordano. The forward scored twice in the first half as top-seeded Sachem East took control.
The two-time defending state champs will play in the Long Island title game at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Dowling.
Trombetta, a two-time All-American, was double teamed in the circle and held scoreless -- a tall task in itself -- but Giordano made that moot. To think, the junior picked up the sport only two years ago, after Trombetta cajoled her out of trying to be a kicker for the football team.
"Taylor is a great athlete and she's aggressive, so I knew she'd be a good player," Trombetta said. "She's also coachable and a fast learner. She was in the perfect spots for those goals."
Giordano's first score put Sachem East on the board with 15:30 left in the first half. Positioned on the right wing during a penalty corner, she took a feed from Katie Doherty and used a reverse sweep from 5 yards. She scored again on a putback 2:45 before halftime.
Jessica Vigh and Kyle Larkin led a defense that stifled No. 2 Smithtown East in the first half and cleared six penalty corners when the Bulls applied pressure in the second half.
Cara Trombetta added a goal with 27:08 remaining and Desteny Holder made seven saves for the Flaming Arrows (18-0).
Kaitlin Halloran had six saves for the Bulls (15-4).
And that loss back in 2011, the blemish on Sachem East's 21-1 season?
"It wasn't really a motivating factor," Katie Trombetta said. "Every year, you reset to zero and it's all about creating new moments to remember."