CICERO, N.Y. – Throughout the field hockey postseason, Lakeland has dominated each of its opponents and as games progressed, they would wilt under the relentless Hornets’ pressure.
On Saturday, in a New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class B field hockey championship semifinal, Maine-Endwell matched Lakeland’s pressure with its own. The Section 4 champion would play Lakeland even in the first half before the Hornets exerted themselves in the second half.
Steph Scala scored at 4:57 of the second half and Lakeland took it from there for a 1-0 win at Cicero-North Syracuse High School.
The three-time defending state champs will play Pittsford Sutherland (Section 5) in the title game at 2 p.m. Sunday.
Lakeland is aiming to become the first team in field hockey to win four consecutive state championships.
Scala’s goal came on Lakeland’s first penalty corner of the second half.
“It always feels good to score the first goal of the game and we always want to score the first goal of the game,” Scala said. “After we score the first goal, we always continue to put pressure on the opposing team.”
Lakeland found itself scoreless at halftime as Maine-Endwell came out with intensity, registering two penalty corners in the first two minutes and matching Lakeland’s determination.
“In the first half, we came out a little slow, but in the second half, we were determined to get the job done,” sweeper Kim Monteferrante said.
It all started with Scala scoring on the penalty corner and then the defense of Rebecca Bard, Felicia Costanzo, Elizabeth Bell, Monteferrante and goalie Mairead Hourihab, was unyielding. Maine-Endwell did not find its way into Lakeland’s circle as much as it did in the first half. When it did, one of Lakeland’s staunch defenders blocked up either the pass or shot and cleared it out.
Meanwhile, Lakeland opened the second half much more intense on offense, and it would result in a penalty corner. Lakeland made a minor adjustment with its corners and it resulted in Scala tapping in a rebound of a Gab Celentano shot.
“We were just taking a lot of time, so we just had to speed it up and get more shots,” Scala said. “We wanted to capitalize on our corners in the second half. It was a great shot by Gab and I was able to finish off the rebound.”
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