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Tigers' State-Title Dreams End in Penalty Strokes

The shock and disbelief was too much for Mamaroneck High School's varsity field hockey team to believe Sunday.

Mamaroneck played a solid all-around game, especially when it came to creating quality scoring chances, but the Tigers walked off the field without the coveted state title because of Sachem East’s goalie tandem of Samantha Alvino and Jordan Miller as Sachem East pulled out a 3-2 win in sudden-victory penalty strokes.

They were the difference as Section 11 champions surprised Mamaroneck to win the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class A field hockey title at Cicero-North Syracuse High School.

It was the third consecutive year Mamaroneck suffered a heartbreaking loss in the state final.

“We played a great game,” Mamaroneck coach John Savage said. “The girls gave it all they could. It is painful. I can’t take the pain away that is in the girls’ hearts. It will take a couple of days, but at our dinner we will celebrate the seniors and the season.”

The score was 0-0 through regulation and the two 10-minute overtime periods. Mamaroneck and Sachem East were even through the first round of five strokes – both teams scored twice – leading to sudden-victory strokes.

In sudden-victory strokes, Sachem East senior Jessica Caruana scored on the first stroke. Jessica Gardiner followed, but her shot hit the right post and bounced away. There was a moment of hesitation before the officials signaled the end of the game. After a brief meeting, the officials said the game was over.

“Our class, we wanted it so much,” senior and goalie Nina Kumar said. “We wanted to be together for as long as we would and in my mind, we accomplished our goal.”

Kelsey Lock and Caruana scored for Sachem East in the first round of strokes, with Kumar making two saves. Jessica Corbin and Hannah Fitzgerald converted strokes for Mamaroneck with Miller stopping three strokes.

Mamaroneck will have nightmares about Alvino. The Sachem East goalie made 11 saves, many acrobatic, through regulation and overtime. On two occasions, she made the initial save, but the ball got behind her only to have her defense clear it. The second time it happened, in the second overtime, Caruana swooped in and swept it away.

Alvino was replaced by Miller in strokes, and she made three saves in the first round.“I usually have Jordan come in in the second half,” Sachem East coach Tina Moon said. “Samantha was playing really hot so I wanted to keep it going. Jordan has always been our stroke goalie. I couldn’t have been more proud of them.”

Once the game went to overtime, Mamaroneck coach John Savage said he felt confident. But Alvino continued reinforcing the brick wall she established.

“Both teams played really solid,” Kumar said. “She played a great game and at the end, the ball bounced the wrong way,” she said about Alvino.

Following the awards presentation and team picture for the parents, Savage hugged and thanked his players, especially his seniors.

“The seniors are an amazing group of girls,” Savage said. “They are great people and talented as field hockey players. It is going to be hard to fill their shoes.”

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