For Lakeland senior standouts Emma Bozek and Shannon Scavelli, there was nothing they wanted more than to end their storied careers with a third consecutive New York State title.
They both got their wish.
The Hornets bested Section 8’s Garden City, 3-1, in the Class B state final on Sunday at Cicero-North Syracuse High School. The victory gives the Hornets their sixth state title in program history, all under head coach Sharon Sarsen.
“It feels amazing,” Bozek said. “To go out with a bang as a senior is what I’ve been looking for since the first day of preseason. I’m on top of the world right now.”
Lakeland jumped out to a 2-0 lead just eight minutes into the game. On the first corner of the contest, Scavelli blasted home a pass from sophomore Gabby Celentano to give the Hornets a 1-0 advantage.
“Each year it gets better and better,” Scavelli said of winning the state championship. “As a senior to finish it off, I’m kind of speechless. To come out and score two goals really early was just incredible. It really sets a tone for the game and kind of puts the other team back on their heels.”
The North Carolina-bound Bozek gave the Hornets a 2-0 lead on an assist from Scavelli.
“We always talk about how we need to come out hard in the first half,” Bozek said. “We seemed to lack that early on in the postseason. When we really concentrated on it, our mental game just rose and reflected in a few early goals.”
The Trojans cut Lakeland’s lead to 2-1 on a goal by Charlotte Castronovo close to midway through the second half.
But Scavelli answered to increase the lead back to two goals at 3-1 with 11:14 remaining on a corner. She finished the year with 48 goals, which is a single-season Lakeland record.
“It’s been incredible,” the Michigan-bound Scavelli said of holding the Lakeland record. “Each year I do my best to score, but I can’t do it without my teammates. They’re there to give me the assists.”
Lakeland defeated Garden City for the third consecutive season. They topped the Trojans in the state final last year and beat them in a thrilling overtime contest in the state semifinals two years ago.
“Garden City is always our rival,” Bozek said. “To beat them again feels great, obviously. They’re a worthy opponent and we love to see them here.”
Senior goalkeeper Krista Servedio finished with four saves for the Hornets (21-1).
After graduating four very talented captains from last year’s team, some doubted that Lakeland could return to states and win another championship. The Hornets improved by leaps and bounds as the season progressed, peaking at the right time as the tournament approached.
“At the beginning of the season we were a little hesitant because were definitely young and lost a lot of defenders (from last year),” Scavelli said. “But each game we just worked on getting better. We took each game one at a time, especially the postseason where you get tested more and more each game. I think we knew we had really good potential if we played our best every game.”
The Hornets dominated their way through the state tournament, outscoring the opposition by a total of 15-1 in three contests.
For the third straight year, Lakeland’s season ended with yet another dog pile — and a state championship plaque, of course.
“I can’t even explain it, it was just crazy,” Bozek said of what went through her mind after winning another state title. “I just screamed my head off and ran to my teammates because sharing a moment like this with them is unexplainable.”
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