It took less than four minutes for the Carle Place field hockey team to find its confidence on Saturday.
Julia Pascarella scored the first goal of the game, with 26:05 left in the first half, and the Frogs never looked back, dominating from every angle as the squad defeated Barker 5-0 in the NYSPHSAA Class C semifinals at Williamsville North High School in Buffalo.
“Coming up here and not knowing much about the team we were going up against, I told the girls they had to come out with fire,” said coach Briana Rubenstein. “The only way to control things was to get the lead.”
Carle Place (11-3) controlled possession throughout the first half, racking up eight shots on net and padding the lead on Emiline Biggin’s first goal of the game with 7:01 on the clock. The Frogs brought pressure throughout the half, settling into a rhythm and moving through the Burke (17-4) defense quickly.
“We’ve improved on our corners and and no one’s been playing selfish,” Biggins said. “It’s all coming together and it’s amazing.”
Carle Place found the back of the net early in the second half as well when Trinity Reed scored just over two minutes in. The Frogs didn’t slow down.
Giana McKeough made it a 4-0 game with 12:27 to play and Biggins netted her second of the day on a breakaway pass from Pascarella just over a minute later.
“We knew we needed to keep the pressure up,” said Biggins, who also chipped in an assist. “We needed to keep scoring and do whatever we could to get the ball in the back of the net.”
Carle Place’s offense ran like a well-oiled machine, working crisp passes and spreading the ball out. The Frogs rarely gave up possession and did not allow a single corner or a shot on goal.
“It’s something that is an amazing feeling as a coach because you know that your opponent can’t zone in on one player,” Rubenstein said. “And I’m so confident in our defense.”
Carle Place advances to the state championship at 3 p.m. on Sunday, taking on Section IV’s Whitney Point and looking to capture its first title since 1990. The Frogs have confidence to spare now, but the team is also hoping to have some fun in its final game of the year.
“It’s been incredible,” Biggin said. “It’s going to be an unforgettable season no matter what the outcome is.”