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Coughlan's OT goal puts Patriots in final

Ward Melville field hockey players react after their

Ward Melville field hockey players react after their 4-3 double overtime win over host Smithtown East in a Suffolk Class A semi-final playoff game. (Nov. 7, 2011) Credit: James Escher

A breakaway from inside the 40 . . . a mad scramble in the circle . . . a cage vacated after the goalie dived left for a deflection . . . a wild scrum for the loose ball . . .

Emerging with it was a diminutive defender, one who teammates call "Miblette.'' Mary Brigid Coughlan slipped in and, from 8 feet out, poked the ball inside the right post with 8:36 on the clock.

So ended this double-overtime epic as third-seeded Ward Melville edged No. 2 Smithtown East, 4-3, Monday in the Suffolk Class A field hockey semifinals.

"It was amazing," the sophomore said of her first goal. "I saw the goalie come out, so I ran up. I don't usually push upfield that far."

That was one of a few unusual things. In typical circumstances, Coughlan likely wouldn't have even been on the field in overtime.

Coughlan subbed in after Deryn Blaney hurt her left knee in a collision at the end of the first overtime. Forced to watch the action, Blaney was thrilled for her teammate.

"Wow . . . Her scoring that goal was awesome," said Blaney, who rushed to greet Coughlan afterward. "She deserved it."

Ward Melville will face No. 1 Sachem East in the final at 5 p.m. Thursday at Newfield.

More on the unusual: Three yellow cards and a green were handed out.

Smithtown East started the second overtime with a seven-on-six advantage after a yellow card was issued with 4:52 left in the first overtime. But Ward Melville's defense withstood the attack.

The Patriots (14-4) were outplayed during several stretches -- demonstrated by the Bulls' 22 penalty corners -- but twice rallied from deficits. Vanessa Pryor's goal with 12:34 left tied it at 3.

Samantha Nizich gave Smithtown East (15-3) an early lead, but goals by Kelsey Catalano and Kim Geiger put the Patriots ahead 17:49 before halftime. Meg Rooney and Genna Murray scored in the second half as the Bulls went up 3-2.

Ward Melville's Andre' Bongiorno and Smithtown East's Ericka Parks each made seven saves.

The Patriots have won the last five county titles, but so often it's come down to them and Smithtown East. The rivalry remains charged.

"Me and Liz [Conley] cried after 'Mib' scored," defender Emma Holland said. "Tears of joy."

Sachem East 2, Bay Shore 1: Katie Trombetta's second goal gave No. 1 Sachem East (17-1) a 2-0 lead six minutes into the second half and it held off No. 4 Bay Shore in the other Class A semifinal. Jordan Miller made seven saves in the victory.

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