RUN AND FIRE: Fayetteville-Manlius senior forward Susan Bansbach (11) sprints down the field, chased by Baldwinsville’s Bailey Nicholson (9), in last Tuesday’s Section III Class A semifinal, where the Hornets lost to the Bees 2-1 in overtime. (photo by P.J. Duffy)
With two Section III titles in its annals, the East Syracuse Minoa field hockey team aimed to add a third on Sunday afternoon when it faced Holland Patent for the Class B championship on the turf at nearby Fayetteville-Manlius.
And the Spartans got just the start it wanted – but could not sustain it as the Golden Knights answered with a sustained scoring spurt and prevailed, 3-1, to win its second straight sectional title.
ESM was in the Class B final a year ago, too, but lost to Camden. Meanwhile, Holland Patent claimed the Class C sectional crown in 2017 and moved up to B this fall, and built a 14-3 record to reach the sectional final.
That included a 3-0 win over ESM on Sept. 22, but the Spartans were intent on reversing that result and started with more energy than the Golden Knights did, capping that start when Maggie Saunders tipped in Sydney Carnival’s shot from the point 7:22 into the game.
But then HP called a time-out, and whatever was said to the Golden Knights’ players, it worked quite well.
Less than six minutes after ESM went in front, HP tied it on a perfectly executed penalty corner, Haley Acevedo getting the goal and Madline Acevedo getting the assist.
Barely two minutes later, the Golden Knights took the lead with a fast break and goal from Maggie Cummings. Hannah Corrigan, who assisted on that goal, returned to convert of a penalty corner late in the half to double HP’s margin.
And that’s where it stayed the rest of the way. During the entire second half, ESM found that, any time it wanted to generate an attack, the Golden Knights stifled it, rarely allowing shots or close looks. The Spartans would complete its season with a 9-8-1 record.
To get to that game, ESM needed a big second half in last Monday’s sectional Class B semifinal at Spartan Stadium to turn back no. 3 seed Cortland in another 3-1 decision.
This was the rare instance of a team playing an opponent in three straight games. The Spartans had faced the Purple Tigers in its last two-regular-season contests, winning 2-0 in one instance and tying 1-1 in the rematch.
Here, there were two goals on the board before the game was seven minutes old. Off a fast break, Cortland took a 1-0 lead when Lauren Swartz scored off a feed from Meredith Meagley, but three minutes later ESM tied it, Carnival deflecting in Gillianne McCarthy’s hard shot off a penalty corner.
They stayed 1-1 the rest of the half, but early in the second half the Spartans’ pressure paid off. A slip from a Purple Tigers defender opened up a passing sequence and Grace Stone, taking it from McCarthy, scored to put ESM up 2-1.
Cortland was mostly kept quiet until the latter stages, when it earned a pair of penalty corners that the Spartans ably defended. Then, with 6:05 to play, ESM sealed it when Stone netted her second goal, the assist going to Holly Carr.
A day after this, Fayetteville-Manlius had the opportunity to earn a sectional Class A finals berth on its home field – but to do so, the no. 3 seed Hornets had to beat no. 2 seed Baldwinsville in the semifinals at B’ville’s home, Pelcher-Arcaro Stadium.
It didn’t quite work out, for though the Hornets scored first, it was the Bees prevailing 2-1 in overtime.
In two regular-season meetings, and through 140 minutes of game action, neither F-M nor B’ville was able to earn a goal. And they were scoreless in the first half of this third encounter, too, but that would soon change.
Lucy Fowler’s goal broke the long logjam and put the Hornets in front, 1-0, but the Bees came back, tied it late in regulation on Kendall Carni’s goal, and won it in OT as Madison Ascioti put in the game-winner off a feed from Emma Brushingham.
In the sectional final, though, B’ville lost, 3-1, to Cicero-North Syracuse, who claimed its first championship in five years. F-M finished its season with a 12-2-3 record.