Everything changed in a flash.
The Sayville field hockey team seized its late-game chances on Tuesday afternoon, as Miranda Britton and Dominique Rinaldi scored off a pair of second-half corners, just under two minutes apart, to lift the Golden Flashes to a 3-1 victory over Southampton in Suffolk II.
“I knew I had to put the ball in the back of the net,” said Britton, whose go-ahead goal came with 15:21 left. “I felt it hit my stick, looked up at the corner of the goal and put it where it needed to be.”
Rinaldi called Britton’s goal “the turning point of the game,” giving Sayville a boost of confidence, and said that the Golden Flashes (4-1) looked to play more as a team in the second half. The squad did just that, pushing tempo in the midfield and quickly drawing the corner that led to Rinaldi’s second goal of the day with 13:32 on the clock.
“In the second half we came out and tried to swing the ball more,” said Rinaldi, who scored both her goals off assists from Tara Donohue. “We really worked together to get that corner and I was able to tap it in.”
Sayville continued to bring pressure down the stretch, finishing the day with six shots on goal, and while the offense hit its stride in the second half, the Golden Flashes’ defense also locked in during the waning minutes of play.
Senior goalie Brieanna Baldante finished with nine saves and coach Tisha Werner credited the defense for holding strong after Southampton (2-4) recorded a pair of corners in the final 2:37.
“Everything that we’ve been practicing, they executed,” Werner said. “They’re confident. They work extremely well as a unit and they know what they need to do.”
Werner added that she was proud of the way Sayville played, settling into the game plan and rallying after Southampton’s Lucy Wesnofske gave the Mariners a 1-0 lead nearly eight minutes into the game.
“We talk about it in practice, how one moment can make all the difference,” Werner said. “They knew they had to capitalize. That was great, it was exactly what we needed.”