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Tara Hollis leads Garden City field hockey into state Class B final

Garden City forward Tara Hollis stick handles the

Garden City forward Tara Hollis stick handles the ball through midfield against Vestal, Saturday, November 13, 2021, in the Class B state field hockey semifinal in Centereach. Credit: George A Faella

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

Tara Hollis had the opportunity to give the Garden City field hockey team a lead in the first quarter of the state Class B semifinal on Saturday, but her 1-on-1 breakaway opportunity went awry.

Hollis found herself in front of the goal once again in the second half and was not going to let another scoring chance pass her by.

With six minutes remaining in the third quarter, Blakely Trapani delivered a pass from the right side of the field that deflected off the stick off Anastasia Menoudakos. The ball popped into the air and Hollis was on the receiving end to smack it into the cage in Garden City’s 1-0 victory over Section IV’s Vestal at Centereach High School.

"I was looking for the ball and just trying to hit it and luckily it went in," Hollis said. "I was really disappointed in the first half when I had that breakaway and didn’t capitalize on it. I think I made up for it in the end, so I am happy about that."

Garden City improved to 16-0 and will face Section II’s Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake in the state Class B final at 10 a.m. Sunday at Centereach.

With no time remaining on the clock in the fourth quarter, Vestal was awarded a corner. The fans and parents from both schools rose to their feet. Vestal (12-7) inserted the ball, but a shot attempt deflected off a foot and the final whistle blew.

"There was a different feeling going into this game and throughout this game. There was a level of composure that I have never seen," Garden City coach Lauren Lavelle said. "The girls played in such a smart way. They couldn’t really hear us on the sidelines, but they were communicating better than I have ever seen."

Goalkeeper Mackenzie Wehrum made eight saves in the victory.

"One more, one more," Trapani said. "I am a huge Friday Night Lights fan and they would write how many games they had left until states. I have a big number one written on the white board in my room and I am going to wipe that away, because there are no games left, we’re there."

The state championships are being held on Long Island for the first time in the 39 years of its existence, a bonus for Hollis and the Trojans.

"Last night I got like eight hours of sleep. I went to bed at nine and woke up at six," Hollis said. "Last week we played here for the Long Island championship and it feels like this is our home field and we are meant to win."

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