BUFFALO — As the seconds ticked down in Sunday’s state Class B field hockey championship at Alden High School, there were more than a few tears shed on the Garden City sideline.
The Trojans came up short of defending their state crown, falling 2-0 to Lakeland in a rematch of last year’s final.
It was a disappointing finish for Garden City, which clinched its seventh straight Long Island championship this season, but as the team lined up for the post-game ceremony, some of those tears turned to smiles. There was laughter and hugs that lasted just a hint longer than usual as the Trojans looked for one more moment on the field with their teammates, proud of everything they had accomplished.
“We played our hearts out, we gave it everything we had,” said senior midfielder Kylie Tierney. “Of course, right now I’m upset about the outcome, but there are no regrets.”
Tierney added that while Garden City “came out on fire” to start the game, the Trojans struggled to find the back of the net. Garden City (15-4) recorded just one shot on goal and one corner in the first half, facing an early deficit as Jenna McCrudden jumpstarted the Lakeland offense.
McCrudden scored both Hornets’ goals, first on a corner with 14:28 left in the half and then just over eight minutes later, weaving her way through the Garden City defense.
“They got a couple of quick goals,” Tierney said. “It set us back a little.”
Lakeland (20-1-1) looked to pad its lead in the second half, drawing three corners less than five minutes out of the break, but Garden City’s defense held strong. The Trojans locked in, turning field quickly and notching their own offensive chances, including a pair of back-to-back corners with just under 22 minutes left.
“They executed,” coach Diane Chapman said. “We didn’t get a lot of offensive opportunities in the first half, but we definitely generated more in the second half. We didn’t think it was over yet.”
Chapman credited the Trojans for their determination down the stretch.
Garden City recorded three second-half shots on goal and drew one more corner, with 11:50 left. Senior goalie Caroline Flanagan was a wall in net late, finishing with five saves.
“They wanted to win, and they kept playing,” Chapman said. “They weren’t going to give up. That was awesome to see.”
It wasn’t the end that Garden City wanted, but the Trojans are already thinking about next season, looking to get back to the state championship and take back the title.
“I know that next year, they’ll win it back for us,” Tierney said. “They’ll beat Lakeland again. They can do it. They have the willpower and it’s their revenge tour now and not Lakeland’s.”