The three-peat felt pretty sweet.
The top-seeded Massapequa field hockey team captured its third straight Nassau A championship Sunday afternoon, taking advantage of offensive opportunities and locking down on defense to defeat No. 3 Baldwin, 2-0, at Berner Middle School.
It’s the tenth county title in the last 11 seasons for the Chiefs.
“Every little moment that we have on the field, we had to capitalize,” said senior midfielder Sophia Theodorous.
Senior forward Ciara O'Connor gave Massapequa (11-4) an early lead, scoring on a scrum in front of the net with 16:17 left in the first half. The quick cushion gave the Chiefs a boost of confidence, allowing the squad to settle into its offense and push the tempo heading into the break.
“I knew it had to go in,” O’Connor said. “We had to score first, get that adrenaline pumping, so I hit it in and aimed for the corner.”
Despite the first-half goal, Massapequa was far from satisfied and Theodorous added to the Chiefs’ lead just over five minutes into the second. She scored off a deflection, working her way into the circle after inserting the ball on Massapequa’s third corner of the frame.
“At half we had a really motivational talk, said, ‘Let’s step it up right here,” Theodorous said. “Each time you step on the field, you start 0-0. There’s no such thing as an automatic win, you have to play until the end.”
Massapequa continued to control play throughout the second half, finishing with 15 corners and 10 shots on goal. Baldwin (3-11) did its best to grab some momentum, with four second-half corners, but the Chiefs defense hardly flinched. The group allowed only one shot on net and senior goalie Shannon Creagh stood tall when tested.
Coach Melodee Ahrens gave credit to the Chiefs’ five seniors, who she called “the five-headed Massapequa monster.” She added that the group has helped jump-start the Chiefs, not just during the championship, but the entire season.
“They are the reason why we’re here today,” Ahrens said. “The five of them kept everyone together and everyone listened and was open to new ideas.”
The Chiefs advance to Saturday’s Long Island Championship, at Centereach High School at 1 p.m., taking on either Sachem East or Eastport-South Manor. Massapequa is expecting a competitive matchup, no matter the opponent. The Chiefs have built their season on seizing opportunities and this game is another one.
“The goal is to bring our all,” O’Connor said. “Play our next game and then hopefully get to states.”