Shenendehowa’s Molly Hagen was heckled and reduced to tears on the far sideline during her team’s Section II semifinal match against Saratoga Springs. And when it came down to it, Hagen had the last laugh.
Deadlocked 0-0 after overtime and 3-3 after one round of strokes, it came down to Round 2. Saratoga’s (15-3) MacLaine Matties’ shot sailed wide right setting up Hagen with a chance to win the game. Hagen buried her shot in the lower left corner and was promptly covered by a pile of Plainsmen (13-5).
For someone who took a beating, it was a fitting end for her to drive home the dagger.
“I just thought where I was going to place it and I knew I could do it,” Hagen said. “We practice it every day. The fans screamed that I was trash and that I deserved to sit this game. I only heard it because they were screaming my number. I think they were screaming things the whole time.”
Shen’s coach Jeanne Frevola told Hagen to ball it up and use it against the Blue Streaks.
“She basically turned around and gave it back to them,” Frevola said. “Take that upsetness and focus it back on the game.”
Saratoga's Kelsey Briddell (L) and Sydney Doris
Shen dominated first-half play only to see Saratoga come back and set the tone for the rest of the game. When overtime went to 7-on-7, both teams dashed up and down the field but couldn’t score. Then it was onto strokes, something Saratoga coach Jo-Anne Hostig hated to see.
“Comes down to luck,” she said. “Opportunity, it’s what it came down to. We were certainly the team that was more organized but they were the team that was more lucky. That’s for sure. I hate when it comes down to one-on-one. It doesn’t show the team effort played during the game.”
Saratoga went up 3-2 in the first round of strokes when Kelsey Briddell banged her shot into the lower left corner. Shen’s fifth and final shooting—Nicole da Cunha—netted the equalizer and forced a second round where it was winner take all. One shot, one answer.
Saratoga won its first two meetings against Shen this year and hadn’t suffered a loss since September 19 when it fell to Burnt Hills.
“I think they had one extra opportunity,” Hostig said. “I think that’s all it is. I don’t think there’s any more skill on either side. It was who capitalized on the opportunity I don’t think that anything was different.”
“I just think they were ready to play,” Frevola said. “We got kind of gypped in the first game and the second game Saratoga was on fire. Today we came out strong. They came out in the second half. Very close game all the way down to the wire. We’ve practiced 77 strokes every night for the last two weeks. We haven’t done it all season.”
Saratoga had 13 shots and Shen also had 13.
ON THE WIRE