Top-seeded Sachem East field defeated No. 2 Northport, 3-1, in the Suffolk Class A field hockey championship Tuesday at Patchogue-Medford High School, erasing any lingering memories of last season’s loss in the final and capturing the program’s first county title since 2014.
“I couldn’t be prouder,” Sachem East coach Tina Moon said. “They played like champions tonight.”
Sachem East jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first half, on goals by Kristen Shanahan and Emily Allingham, but Northport made it a one-goal game with 25:26 left as Lily Fox found the back of the net on a penalty stroke.
The goal frustrated the Flaming Arrows (17-0), as it was only the sixth time they’ve allowed one all season, but the team refused to wallow. Instead, Sachem East used it as motivation and locked in on defense down the stretch.
“We really had to stay focused,” said goalie Marissa Cuevas, who made seven saves. “I couldn’t let that goal get in my head. I knew if we played our game, we’d be successful.”
Cuevas directed the Sachem East defense throughout the second half as the back line worked into shooting lanes and disrupted the offensive rhythm of Northport (15-4). She also stood tall in net, making four second-half saves, including a block with her arm that Moon said helped settle the team.
“It’s all mental toughness,” Moon said of her goalie. “The kid’s got the right mindset. She’s a little thing and she played big.”
Shanahan gave the Flaming Arrows some breathing room with 18:43 left, scoring her second goal of the day to make it 3-1 and effectively wrap up the victory.
“I knew I had to finish that shot,” Shanahan said. “We were clicking today. It felt good.”
Sachem East advanced to the Long Island championship against Massapequa at Berner Middle School on Saturday. It’s uncharted territory for most of the Flaming Arrows’ roster.
“We’ve put in a lot of hard work and we’re seeing it pay off,” Cuevas said. “I’m excited to see where we go.”