Sectional field hockey: Familiar foes face off for sectional title
Niskayuna and Shenendehowa will play for the Section II Class A field hockey championship for the fourth year in a row in the final game of a triple-header today at Schuylerville High School.
Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake and South Glens Falls will tangle at noon for the Class B crown, Greenwich and Hoosick Falls will play for the Class C flag at 2, and Niskayuna will go after its sixth straight victory over Shenendehowa in the large-school tilt at 4.
Niskayuna beat Shenendehowa three times last season, capped by a 1-0 overtime win in the champ-ionshp game, and the Silver Warriors went on to make their first state final four appearance. The Silver Warriors (No. 1 seed, 15-2) own 2-1 and 1-0 victories over the Lady Plainsmen (No. 2, 16-2) this season.
“Everyone has to have the desire to win,” said Niskayuna coach Alison Broomhead. “They have to know it’s one of the biggest games of the season. They have to show up and play. If you don’t show up against Shenendehowa, you don’t win.”
Shenendehowa beat Niskayuna in the 2011 final in double overtime, 2-1, and in the 2010 final in overtime, 3-2. When the teams met back in 2006, Niskayuna came out on top, 1-0.
“I think it’s our year,” said Shenendehowa goaltender Melissa Nealon.
Carrie Hanks, Ali Wells and Ali Frary had the goals in Niskay-una’s 3-0 semifinal win over Guilderland. Anna Bottino and Anna Branch scored in Shenendehowa’s 2-0 semifinal win over Saratoga Springs, and they also had goals when the Lady Plainsmen rolled to a 6-1 quarterfinal triumph over Columbia.
“They played well. They played as a team,” Shenendehowa coach Jeanne Frevola said after her team beat Saratoga for the third year in a row in the semifinals. “We’ll need more of that.”
Only once before have the same two teams met in four straight Class A title games, when Saratoga beat Shenendehowa from 1992-94, and the Lady Plainsmen beat the Blue Streaks in 1995.
Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake (No. 2, 12-6) will be looking for a second straight title after getting past Johnstown last fall, 3-1.
The Spartans used the Lady Bills as a stepping stone to get back, beating them in the semifinal round, 3-0, on two goals by Elise Zwicklbauer and another by Nicole Beardsley. Zwicklbauer produced three goals in a 4-0 semifinal win over Scotia-Glenville.
South Glens Falls (No. 1, 14-4) earned a shot at its first sectional title by beating Glens Falls, 1-0, and Ichabod Crane before that, 5-0.
Greenwich (No. 2, 16-2) defeated Hoosick Falls (No. 1, 18-0) in last year’s Class C final in strokes, 1-0.