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Southampton loses to Greene in Class C final

Southampton goalie Alex Ambrose makes a diving effort

Southampton goalie Alex Ambrose makes a diving effort against three Greene attackers. The Raiders would go on to lose 7-0 to Greene in the Class C State Championship. (Nov. 18, 2012) Photo Credit: Justin Colton

CICERO, N.Y. -- Not 20 minutes after the clock ran out on their season, the eyes already had dried. The Southampton field hockey team huddled off to the side . . . and began circle dancing to "Cotton-Eyed Joe."

The Cicero-North Syracuse PA system cranked warm-up music for the following game, but the Mariners, adorned in silver medals, still had cause for celebration.

"If someone had told us four months ago that we'd be here, I'd have been like, 'Yeah, I don't believe you,' " midfielder Keeling Pilaro said. "So it's just so great that it did happen."

Southampton's stunning run to the state tournament ended Sunday, falling to Greene, 7-0, in the state Class C final.

Emma Anderson had four goals and an assist, and Jahna Driscoll a goal and three assists for Greene, which tied the state-tournament record for goals scored in a final. Miller Place set the mark in 1986.

Southampton tried its best -- and even made four spectacular defensive saves -- but simply was overmatched by a team that took Sachem East to strokes in the state Class A semifinals last season. Green, a "C" school based on enrollment, had petitioned in 2009 to compete in Class A and won the title that year. But by rule, the Trojans had to remain in that bracket for two more years before returning to Class C.

Alex Ambrose made 10 saves, and Emily Wesnofske and Meggie Gallo were named to the all-tournament team for Southampton (11-9), which earned its first trip upstate since 2003.

Mariners coach Kim Hannigan, too, admitted she "never would have thought we would get this far." Back in April, the focus was whether Pilaro would be allowed to play. Section XI deemed the freshman ineligible on grounds he was too skilled to compete against girls. That decision eventually was overturned on appeal, but the controversy loomed and threatened to distract this team, a young group with 12 underclassmen.

It didn't.

"We've been working for this for so long," senior Rienna Russo said. "Hands down, [Greene] is great, but I couldn't be more proud of what we did. We had an amazing weekend."

And with only four senior starters graduating, the Mariners could be set up for an amazing future.
“It’s sad to see the seniors go, but that means it’s up to us to step up, and we’re already pumped for next year,” sophomore Caroline Ricca said. “Losing is disappointing, of course, but I wasn’t crying because I realize we accomplished so much.”

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