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Lauren Ahrens’ goal lifts Massapequa to ‘A’ crown

Lauren Ahrens #5 of Massapequa, left, and Daniella

Lauren Ahrens #5 of Massapequa, left, and Daniella Specht #14 of Baldwin battle for possession during the Nassau Class A field hockey final at Adelphi University on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017. Credit: James Escher

Massapequa and Baldwin were in familiar territory Saturday night.

For the second straight season, the two teams squared off in a defensive struggle at Adelphi with the Nassau Class A field hockey championship on the line. As was the case last year, the scoreline read “0-0” after 55 minutes, but when the deadlock finally broke, the outcome was reversed.

Lauren Ahrens scored with 4:40 left minutes left to lead No. 1 Massapequa to a 1-0 win over No. 2 Baldwin to earn the Chiefs their eighth county title in nine seasons. They will play Ward Melville for the Long Island Championship on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. at Newfield.

Last season, Baldwin ended the Chiefs’ season with a goal in the second overtime period in the county final.

“Since we lost last year we really needed this win,” said Ahrens, who scored off an assist from Jennifer Cooney. “All my teammates attacked me afterward. It was a great feeling.”

“Since Aug. 23, we’ve been working hard every day because we wanted this title back,” said Chiefs coach Melodee Ahrens, who is also Lauren’s mother.

Baldwin came dangerously close to tying the game a minute after Ahrens’ goal, but Massapequa goalie Jordan Taylor came off her line for a close-range save on the Bruins’ only shot on goal of the game.

Massapequa (9-7) put the pressure on the Bruins in the first half and created a few good chances near the midway point of the period, but were unable to get the ball past goalie Kailey Brower. The Chiefs created their best chance of the half off a penalty corner with 1:30 left in the first half, but the ensuing shot went just wide and the two teams went into the half scoreless.

“During halftime, Shannon Bernhardt asked ‘do you really want this win?’ She gave us a whole talk,” Lauren Ahrens said. “’If you don’t score, you’re not going to win.’ That motivated us.”

The second half began in the same fashion, with neither side able to break the deadlock. Baldwin (1-12) defended a trio of Massapequa penalty corners early in the period and also looked dangerous at times on the counterattack.

Ultimately the Chiefs created the better chances but were continuously repelled despite an inflated penalty corner tally.

After Ahrens finally broke the deadlock, Baldwin attacked frenetically, but could not level the score.

“Baldwin played a great game,” Melodee Ahrens said. “They played a really hard game. I’m pretty proud of my team for stepping it up. There are 29 girls on this roster. They all deserve this. I’m ready for Suffolk and I think they are too.”

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