BUFFALO – For the Garden City field hockey team, defense earns championship berths.
The Trojans held on for a 1-0 victory over Vestal in the state Class B semifinal at Alden High School, Saturday evening, fending off a pair of corners after the Golden Bears drew a whistle with one second left. Garden City will take on Lakeland at 3 p.m. Sunday in a rematch of last year's final, looking for the program’s second straight title.
“It was definitely a defensive game toward the end,” junior midfielder Sarah Killcommons said. “But our defense is so strong, and we just trust each other so much, that we know we can do whatever we need to.”
Killcommons scored the lone goal of the game on Garden City’s fifth corner, with 11:31 left in the first half. The early lead was enough to spark the Trojans’ confidence and, after recording 11 first-half shots, Garden City (15-3) locked in on defense late, controlling play in the midfield.
The Trojans allowed only three shots in the second half. Senior goalie Caroline Flanagan finished with six saves.
“We always know someone is going to be in the space and get to the ball,” Killcommons said of the team’s defensive mindset. “We have such good chemistry.”
Vestal (12-7) did its best to rally, recording six second-half corners, but Garden City coach Diane Chapman credited the Trojans’ back-line for standing tall.
“They were determined to not let that goal get scored,” Chapman said. “[Vestal] was a really powerful offensive team. So, for them to withstand that against such a great team, I’m very proud.”
Now, the Trojans turn their attention to the final game of the year, ready to defend both their goal and their title as reigning state champs.
“I can say for everyone on our team, being here in Buffalo is our favorite time of the season,” Killcommons said. “We always look forward to it and to go back for another state title is awesome.”