It was an all too familiar ending for the Mamaroneck field hockey team.
For the third consecutive season, the Tigers lost in the NYS Class A championship game. Mamaroneck fell to Section 11’s Sachem East, 3-2, on penalty strokes on Sunday at Cicero-North Syracuse High School.
“It was a great game,” Mamaroneck coach John Savage said. “Two teams gave all they were able to give and one on the scoreboard is a winner, but I think there are two winners coming off this field.”
With the teams tied 2-2 on penalty strokes, Sachem East’s Jessica Caruana scored what would be the game-winning goal. Mamaroneck senior midfielder Jessica Gardiner then sent her shot off the crossbar.
“Thank god that hit the crossbar because I wasn’t reaching it,” Sachem East goalie Jordan Miller said. “I saw my glove out and it didn’t look like it was going to make it. I’m so incredibly happy. This is like a dream.”
There was some confusion after the final penalty stroke, but after some debate, Sachem East (21-1) was finally declared the victor.
“I was still a little uneasy that they were going to say, ‘Oh no, just kidding,” Caruana said. “We’re beyond happy.”
Senior midfielder Jessica Corbin and Hannah Fitzgerald each converted a stroke for Mamaroneck (20-2). Fitzgerald’s tally made it 2-2. Scarlett Fugazy then had a chance to win it for the Tigers but her attempt was saved by Miller.
Both teams had their chances throughout regulation and overtime. Corbin and Fitzgerald had an opportunity to end the game early in the second overtime, but were turned away by Sachem East’s Samantha Alvino, who finished with an unbelievable 17 saves.
Alvino and Miller usually split the game with each playing a half, but Sachem East decided to ride the hot hand in Alvino. Miller is the team’s strokes goalie and took over after regulation and overtime ended.
“It was our goal since the summer started in August,” Miller said of winning a state title. “We just believed in ourselves and we did it.”
Mamaroneck goaltender Nina Kumar stood tall in net against a strong Flaming Arrows attack, finishing with five saves.
“Both goalies played out of their minds today,” Savage said. “They both made some great saves and that’s what kept [Sachem East] in the game. That’s what a state championship is about. Great players getting together and putting on a show that is one of the best ones I’ve seen and I’ve been around for 16 years.”
It has been quite a run for Mamaroneck. Not many teams can say they reached the state championship game three years in a row. Over the last four seasons the Tigers have compiled a record of 74-4-4.
“If you don’t look at that and say, ‘That’s a work of art,’” Savage said. “I think dwelling on this game will be a mistake. It hurts, but it would be a mistake and I think they’re going to realize that once we let the hurt go away.”
Follow Rob DiAntonio on Twitter @MSGV_RJD