ENDWELL, N.Y. - Morgayne Rix cradled Garden City's Class B field hockey runner-up plaque. It was not the championship banner -- that belonged to Lakeland, which beat the Trojans, 3-1, in the state final Sunday at Maine-Endwell High School -- but Rix held it tight anyway.
"It's a great feeling just to know that after not being able to come up here last year to come up and prove that we are number two in the state," said Rix, a senior with four years of varsity experience. "It's an amazing accomplishment."
Lakeland, which has won the last six Class B titles, also ousted Garden City (17-2) in the 2009 semifinals, 2010 and 2011 finals and 2013 Southeast Regional. "It's really upsetting because we really wanted to be the team to beat them after five years," Rix said. "We know that they're a really good team because we always lose to them."
Lakeland opened with a goal by Emily Power 4:28 into the game. A quick score like that easily could have deflated Garden City's intensity. "There was definitely a little drop in my stomach," senior Isabel McKeown said. "Then, of course, Bruno saved the day."
Bruno is Michaela Bruno, who made the all-tournament team along with Annie Kane. Her goal with 25 seconds left in Saturday's semifinal sealed the Trojans' 3-1 win over Brighton.
Bruno took the ball across the top of the circle and fired her shot while still on the move. "They got mad after Lakeland scored," coach Diane Chapman said. "They got down there and scored a beautiful, beautiful goal."
Lakeland scored again midway through the half. Molly Fitzpatrick put her stick in the right place at the right time, deflecting Valerie Perkins' shot into the net. "Their second goal was gorgeous," Chapman said.
And their third goal was backbreaking. Fitzpatrick corralled a loose ball in a scrum by the cage with 15 minutes left and pushed a shot past Sabrina Milone, who made four saves.
Rix and McKeown each said their experiences playing field hockey for Garden City made high school "the best four years" of their lives.