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Still on mission for state title, Olivia McKenna and Northport field hockey pick up another win

Olivia McKenna (one goal, two assists) passes to

Olivia McKenna (one goal, two assists) passes to a Northport teammate in victory over Patchogue-Medford in Suffolk Division I field hockey game on Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

It was a quick turn around from the shortened spring season to the fall. For the Northport field hockey team it still couldn’t have come quick enough.

The team went as far as it could when it won the first Long Island championship in program history in the spring and is now in the midst of an undefeated run with the ultimate goal of a state championship once again a reality.

The Tigers continued their march Tuesday, defeating visiting Patchogue-Medford, 6-0, in a Suffolk I game.

"As a team we’re just looking forward to the future and preparing for that but also making sure we put all the work in everyday," Olivia McKenna said.

McKenna had a goal and two assists, Sophia Bica, last week’s Newsday athlete of the week, had two goals and an assist and Shannon Smith had two goals.

With 10 of 11 starters returning from last season the expectations coming in were always going to be high. And so far Northport (12-0) has exceeded them, allowing only three goals all season.

"This team is thankfully always motivated," coach Gina Walling said. "They feel like they got robbed last year not being able to go to a state tournament and that motivation is in the back of their heads at all times. That’s the end goal."

Both McKenna and senior midfielder Hailey Roethel said that while the team won’t be satisfied with anything short of a trip to the state tournament they are continuing to pay attention to the details now to best prepare them for the postseason.

"We need to be happy about the small things and take pleasure in the things that will lead to bigger things for us when we get into the bigger games," Roethel said.

The team has also been able to use the second half of some games to get more of the roster experience that has already proved invaluable.

"Hailey was out with an injury earlier in the season and Emma Fabrizio stepped right in and did a fantastic job," Walling said. "The more we can get everybody on the field the better off we’ll be in the long run, just in case."

With only two regular season games remaining before the playoffs the confidence is high in Northport that the Tigers will be able to get the job done no matter who is on the field.

"We know that if we did it once," McKenna said, "we can do it again."

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