CICERO, N.Y. -- The crowd went silent as Katie Trombetta got into her stance, ready to fire on a penalty stroke. Anticipation built, and she took a deep breath to calm herself. At the whistle: set . . . shoot . . . goal. The midfielder launched it into the upper-right corner.
The Sachem East bench erupted.
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And you just read a description of the only tense moment in Saturday's game.
The Big Red Machine looked like a team worth every bit its hype, thumping Williamsville North, 6-0, in a state Class A field hockey semifinal at Cicero-North Syracuse.
Trombetta's penalty stroke gave Sachem East a 2-0 lead with 2:28 left in the first half and she added a goal and an assist. Her freshman sister, Cara, also scored twice for the defending state champs.
The Flaming Arrows will face Liverpool in the final at noon Sunday.
"This never gets old," Katie Trombetta said. "This is what you look forward to all year and I love it. Just being up here is awesome."
Well, being up here and playing like that is awesome. Last year, both of Sachem East's state tournament games were decided in nail-biting penalty-stroke rounds. But this game? Believe it or not, it wasn't as close as the score indicates.
Mind you, this was against Williamsville North, a regular at the state tournament and the 2010 state champions.
Sachem East (21-0) dominated possession in the first half and even had an eight-minute stretch in which they didn't allow the Spartans to cross midfield. But that wasn't reflected on the scoreboard. During a timeout, Arrows coach Tina Moon implored her team to "be more aggressive. We need to get more shots off."
And 24 seconds later . . . Presto! Kim Fazio took a pass from Kayla McKeveny and scored 15:05 before halftime. "We didn't want a replay of last year," Fazio said. "We want to be better."
What's most impressive is this team might, in fact, be better. Jessica Caruana, an All-Long Island senior last season, all but guaranteed back then that her former teammates would repeat as state champs. Watching this performance from the stands Saturday: "They're loaded," she said. "And they're so relentless. They don't let up at all."
They didn't. Cara Trombetta, off a feed from Katie Shanahan, made it 3-0 with 19:14 left in the second half. She scored again off a pass from her sister with 7:50 remaining. And Katie Doherty's goal made it 5-0. That Jordan Miller need only one save in the shutout is a testament to the Flaming Arrows' defense and its ball-control offense.
There was chatter among coaches and upstate coordinators Saturday that Sachem East, when on its game, "looks unbeatable." To think, up until last fall, this program had never even won a county title.
"It's definitely cool to know that we're building a legacy right now," senior Karyn Ryan said. "Now we're becoming one of those teams that makes multiple trips to states."
They're quickly becoming one of those teams that other squads fear. If they aren't that already.