In an extremely tight defensive affair, Steph Scala scored the only goal in a 1-0 victory over Section 4’s Maine Endwell. She was assisted by Gab Celentano but the ball also passed through Kristen Conroy on the corner. The score came 4:57 into the second half.
“It was a great job by Gab, I just hit it in right past the goalie,” Scala said. “It’s always great to score a goal but to know that it was the only goal of the game, it’s an amazing feeling,”
The Hornets will face Section 5’s Pittsford Sutherland Sunday at 2 p.m. for the chance to win their fourth consecutive Class B state title. Pittsford Sutherland topped Miller Place 2-0 in the other Class B semifinal.
“Me, Rebecca Bard and Kristen Conroy have a chance to put four rings on our hands and it’s really exciting,” Lakeland senior Gianna Bensaia said. ‘There’s nothing else to say. We put so much work into this, the chance to win states every single year of high school.”
Maine-Endwell was a disciplined team that communicated well offensively. Their midfielders were feeding a lot of clean passes in to standout Emma Valentine, but Lakeland goalie Mairead Hourihan was forced to make only two stops in the game.
Rebecca Bard and Marisa Disisto contributed to a stellar defensive effort which was highlighted by spoiling a breakaway chance for Valentine.
“I was very happy that I could take away their strength when they dribble down the field by themselves,” Bard said. “We also try and recognize who their strong players are, so even if we foul, its better than having them carry a certain amount of yards.”
Lakeland had six corners in the game, four of which came in the first half.
The Spartans were very conscious of Bensaia and Dana Bozek in midfield, stymieing the creative pair for much of the game.
“Coming into the post season they do a lot of marking up and they try to take away certain strengths on the field,” Bensaia said. “That teaches us that you have to release the ball a lot faster and you have to learn that its a passing game. If you keep that ball moving, its going to end up in the back (of the net).”
Lakeland had six corners and goalie Mairead Hourihan made two stops. Maine-Endwell had five corners and goalie Cassie Banker made three saves.