ENDWELL, N.Y. — Kerri Thornton took the shot. And then?
“I didn’t see the ball go in at first, but I did see everybody sprinting toward me,” the Ward Melville senior said. “When I saw them sprinting toward me, I knew it was over and it was just incredible . . . It’s an amazing feeling.”
Thornton’s winning goal in overtime gave the Ward Melville field hockey team its first state Class A championship since 2008 with a 1-0 victory over host Maine-Endwell Sunday.
Senior Kate Mulham assisted on Thornton’s goal with 4:37 left in OT as the Patriots finished the season 22-0, the best record in program history.
“They made history today and it was an awesome finish, from Kate to Kerri, so it really couldn’t have ended any better than that,” Ward Melville coach Shannon Sioss said.
After a loss in double overtime in the state final in 2015 and an overtime defeat in the state semifinals last season, Ward Melville made sure to leave with the state title this time.
In the team huddle before overtime, Sioss used the past two seasons as motivation.
“We talked about how last year we lost in overtime and we knew how that felt, and we really did not want that feeling again,” Sioss said. “As tired as we were, we had to push through and they did just that and it was amazing.”
Said Thornton, “Like everybody says, the third time’s the charm.”
Ward Melville goalie Meghan Lorenzen made four saves in the shutout win. Emily Miller had eight stops for Maine-Endwell.
This season, Ward Melville scored 81 goals and the defense allowed only 14 goals in the 22 games played.
The Patriots will graduate eight seniors. None will be playing field hockey in college. “But fortunately, this was a great way for them to end their field hockey career,” Sioss said.
Mulham finished the season with 31 points, third in Suffolk. Thornton said it feels amazing to have won a state title in her final year or her high school career.
“I don’t think it would be any different if someone else scored,” she said. “But to end your season like this your senior year, it’s an incredible feeling. To go 22-0 with a fantastic team who has worked their butts off the whole season is incredible.”