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Sachem East suffers first loss in state Class A field hockey semifinals

Sachem East's Kristen Shanahan moves the ball upfield

Sachem East's Kristen Shanahan moves the ball upfield during Saturday's NYSPHSAA Field Hockey Semi-Finals in Alden, NY. Credit: David Marino Photography

BUFFALO -- The Sachem East field hockey team’s season came to an end Saturday afternoon as the Flaming Arrows lost their first game of the year, 4-2, to Maine-Endwell in the state Class A semifinals at Alden High School.

The Flaming Arrows allowed three goals in the final 10 minutes, finishing the season 18-1.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the girls and how they performed,” coach Tina Moon said. “We knew that we had to be more intense and come out harder, pass the ball sooner. We did that probably for the first 15 minutes [of the second half].”

After Maine-Endwell jumped to a quick lead, scoring just over two minutes in, freshman forward Alexandra Howell responded for Sachem East, finding the back of the net with 19:35 left in the first half.

“I think we controlled a lot of this game and knew that we could push through,” junior goalie Emily Hyl said. “It showed how much fight we had.”

Senior midfielder Kristen Shanahan gave the Flaming Arrows a 2-1 lead with 26:18 left in regulation, scoring on a penalty stroke. Moon credited Shanahan for her cool approach under pressure, saying it was “all about mindset.”

“She wanted it,” Moon added. “She wanted to go out on top.”

Hyl was a wall in net through the early minutes of the second, finishing the day with 16 saves, but Maine-Endwell (15-3) turned on the pressure late. The Spartans tied it at 2 when Anna Castaldo scored off a corner with 9:21 left and Jenna Zunic followed up less than four minutes later, making it a 3-2 game.

Castaldo rounded out the scoring, netting her third goal on another Maine-Endwell corner with 2:25 to play.

“That one [corner] went in and it changed the momentum,” Moon said. “[Emily] was amazing, though. She made so many brilliant saves.”

It’s the second straight semifinal appearance for Sachem East and while the Flaming Arrows graduate a handful of seniors, Moon said she’s optimistic about the future of the program.

“We have a lot of great seniors that we’re losing, so I’m hoping the girls, even the ones we pulled up from JV, learned a lot this year,” Moon said. “We want that philosophy and that tradition to continue.”

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