Sachem East was stunned by Smithtown East, a perfect season marred and the team's pride bruised by an unexpected loss to its rival. Still, Katie Trombetta found a silver lining.
"It shook us up and showed us we need to keep striving to get better," the midfielder said of the loss.
That was two years ago. In the regular season.
And all the Flaming Arrows' field hockey team has done since then is win -- every single game.
It came full circle Saturday night as Taylor Giordano scored twice, leading Sachem East to a 3-0 win over Smithtown East in the Suffolk Class A final, the team's third straight county title and its 47th consecutive victory.
"I'm proud of myself," Giordano said, giddy and grinning between sentences. "But to get this done took a piece of every person, and so many things go into winning a championship."
Clearly, the Flaming Arrows have the formula, and a key component Saturday night was Giordano. The forward scored twice in the first half as top-seeded Sachem East took control.
The two-time defending state champs will play in the Long Island title game at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Dowling.
Trombetta, a two-time All-American, was double teamed in the circle and held scoreless -- a tall task in itself -- but Giordano made that moot. To think, the junior picked up the sport only two years ago, after Trombetta cajoled her out of trying to be a kicker for the football team.
"Taylor is a great athlete and she's aggressive, so I knew she'd be a good player," Trombetta said. "She's also coachable and a fast learner. She was in the perfect spots for those goals."
Giordano's first score put Sachem East on the board with 15:30 left in the first half. Positioned on the right wing during a penalty corner, she took a feed from Katie Doherty and used a reverse sweep from 5 yards. She scored again on a putback 2:45 before halftime.
Jessica Vigh and Kyle Larkin led a defense that stifled No. 2 Smithtown East in the first half and cleared six penalty corners when the Bulls applied pressure in the second half.
Cara Trombetta added a goal with 27:08 remaining and Desteny Holder made seven saves for the Flaming Arrows (18-0).
Kaitlin Halloran had six saves for the Bulls (15-4).
And that loss back in 2011, the blemish on Sachem East's 21-1 season?
"It wasn't really a motivating factor," Katie Trombetta said. "Every year, you reset to zero and it's all about creating new moments to remember."