Victoria Kotowski scored the winning goal with 1:30 left to lift Cold Spring Harbor over Manhasset, 2-1, Tuesday in Conference I. Bridgette Bouse had tied the game earlier in the second half. Katie Paolano and Jillian Lee had an assist each, and Taylor Striar made seven saves for the Seahawks (4-1-1). Maddy Molinari scored and Olivia Demeri had seven saves for Manhasset (2-3).
The significance: Cold Spring Harbor might not be the little sisters of Nassau Class B anymore. It’s the second time this season the Seahawks have edged Manhasset. They had beaten them, 3-2, in overtime on Sept. 19.
In recent years, it had been as safe a bet as any that the county final would feature Garden City and Manhasset, and last year North Shore emerged and reached the championship game. Cold Spring Harbor has been that “semifinals” team. One of those teams that couldn’t be denied respect because they’ve reached the final four, though it came with a “Yeah, but” disclaimer. As in – yeah, but there’s a definite divide between the top two and the other two in that playoff quartet. That line is getting blurred a bit, and maybe the semifinals will no longer represent a glass ceiling.
“It’s a huge confidence builder, especially being able to do it two times,” Seahawks coach Danielle Skakandi said of the wins over Manhasset. “They’re a great ream, well-respected. Moving up to League I, we've been able to play them twice. We're competing against some of the best teams, so it means a lot.”
They also had a 1-1 tie with Garden City on Sept. 16. The teams had played to a 1-1 tie last year in the regular season (though the game was called for rain at halftime, to the dismay of both teams) and they lost 2-1 to the Trojans in the county semifinals. If Garden City stands as Long Island field hockey’s measuring stick, it means Cold Spring Harbor is growing.
"We’re not looking ahead too much,” Skakandi said, “however, being able to play with these teams means we're doing something right. My team gets along well off the field and that translates. I think we’ve come up against some teams that might have better individual players or more skills, but we play so well as a team and hustle that we’re able to compete.”
And that Kotowski kid is at it again. We wrote about her knack for clutch scoring last year, and to this point, she’s outdoing herself. The senior has already scored three game-winning goals and, in their 2-1 overtime loss to Massapequa, she had tied the score in the second half. Kotowski has been playing midfield much of the season, Skakandi said, but “when it’s late and we need to score, we move her up [to forward].”
"She's been pretty clutch for us, being in the right place at the right time,” the coach said. “She’s a gamer and she turns it on. When it’s on the line, she has the confidence. And you want that in a player. She's awesome for us in that way.”