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OT goal gives Red Devils Class B field hockey crown

One shot would not do the trick -- but the second shot sure seemed to work.

Freshman Ashley Palmer's rebound goal just 71 seconds into sudden-death overtime gave the Vernon-Verona-Sherrill field hockey team a 1-0 victory over Camden Sunday night at Chittenango High School -- and with it, the Red Devils' first Section III Class B championship since 2004.

Overall, it's the ninth sectional title VVS has won, and advances the team to this Saturday's Class B regional finals against the Section IV (Southern Tier) champion at Vestal High School near Binghamton. The winner of that game returns to Chittenango's turf for next weekend's state final four.

This final against Camden was a rematch of the 2007 championship game, won by the Blue Devils 2-1 in overtime. They had met twice this season in Tri-Valley League play, each side winning once on their respective home fields.

Since VVS beat Cortland and Camden took out New Hartford in the semifinals on Oct. 25, the teams had rested for an entire week, with some practices curtailed by the surprising shot of winter weather early last week.

No one showed any rust when the game started. Quickly, though, the Red Devils found itself on the defensive, forced to resist a fast, skilled Camden squad that attacked with relentless fervor.

But the Red Devils were ready for it, as back-line players Tracee Scheibel, Vicki Moats and Maria Mancebo got their bodies in the way of many connecting passes, and goalie Theresa Moats made a series of strong stops.

In both the first and second half, VVS rarely got a chance to attack, making sporadic runs and drawing just one penalty corner in 60 minutes of regulation. The only good part about it was that it may have made Camden's defense a bit rusty.

Thus, when it stayed 0-0 going into the seven-on-seven overtime period, the Red Devils' attack was still fresh, while Camden's forwards had a bit more fatigue.

And a minute into OT, VVS found some space and came right after Camden goalie Vianna Lawrence. Dominique Coy took the intial shot, and Lawrence saved it -- but the ball kicked right out to Palmer, and she fired the rebound home to make the Red Devils champions.

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