For the Carle Place field hockey team, Friends Academy wasn’t its only opponent yesterday. History, too, was an adversary.
The Quakers’ track record: They had won seven straight county titles, and the Frogs were the runner-up for six of them.
There was also Carle Place’s own history: The program has won 23 county championships, setting the bar high for this group, and that past has brought about comparisons to the teams of yesteryear.
Yesterday it compared most favorably.
Elissa Frein scored with 30 seconds left in overtime as top-seeded Carle Place beat Friends Academy, 1-0, to capture its first Nassau Class C title since 2005.
“Now we’re up on that wall, too,” midfielder Shannon McGuinness said, referring to the championship banners that hang in the school’s gym. “I’m gonna be able to tell my kids one day about what happened today.”
If so, save this article as proof that none of the game’s drama is embellished.
Seconds before the goal, it seemed certain that No. 2 Friends (9-5) was about to score. Lydia Rice made a sliding save to her left and slapped away an attempted putback, but the ball found a Quaker, who fired toward the left corner. But midfielder Kailee Pagnotta rushed in, lunged to her right to make a last-second defensive save and swept the ball out.
McGuinness recovered it, sprinted up the right sideline, dodged a defender on the wing and fired. The ball was deflected by Charlotte Gelfand (seven saves), but Frein corralled the rebound near the right post and poked it into the far corner.
“That whole overtime was crazy,” Frein, a sophomore, said of the sequence. “This means the world to us. We’ve waited our turn for a long time and now we’ve got it.”
Rice was spectacular with 18 saves, including four in overtime for the Frogs (11-2). The Quakers had 13 penalty corners, one of which resulted in a shot off the pipe at the end of regulation.
“The history can get in your head, but you fight against that,” Rice said. “We came in with the belief that this was the year we’d make it happen. No more coming close and falling short.”