Sisters Kaeli and Kelsey Huff had been there before. But that didn’t stop the tears.
After top-seeded Eastport-South Manor’s 13-3 win over No. 6 West Babylon in the Suffolk Class B championship Tuesday at Dowling Sports Complex, the sisters found each other on the field and broke down crying.
Kaeli, a senior, appeared in five straight county finals and won four. Kelsey, a junior, appeared in four straight and won three. Their loss came in 2014.
“I get excited when the younger girls experience it,” said Kaeli, explaining her tears. “And it’s the last time with my sister. How are you not going to cry?”
Kaeli has been a varsity starter since eighth grade, and she played like it. Her five goals and one assist paced a Sharks offense that led 11-0 run well into the second half. Kelsey added two goals and an assist.
“No matter how many times we’ve been here and we’ve won this, it’s just the same feeling every time,” Kelsey said.
Both teams came out of the gate slowly. The game was scoreless until Hannah Kenneally found the back of the net at 12:04 in the first. She had three goals.
The Sharks were very cautious early, not taking many shots and looking hesitant with the ball. Kaeli took it upon herself to calm the nerves.
“Everyone was a little bit nervous today, but I’ve been here, so I was able to just calm them down,” she said. “I just wanted them to relax and play the best they could.”
After her pep talk, the Sharks put on a dominant performance. Five players had goals scored during the 11-0 run, which ended when Emily Heller scored for West Babylon (11-8) at 12:25 in the second. Samantha Geiersbach scored twice after Heller’s tally.
Coach Becky Thorn credited the defense for setting the tone, and Kaeli Huff echoed praise for the group. “Our defense stepped up huge today,” she said. “It was incredible.”
Eastport-South Manor (14-4) will play the winner of Wednesday’s Nassau B title game between Garden City and Manhasset on Sunday at an unannounced location.