Lakeland Claims Regional, Sectional Titles

The Hornets’ annual dogpile after winning their ninth straight Section 1 title. Credits: Rob DiAntonio

GARDEN CITY, N.Y.— Lakeland’s Julianna Cappello scored with 5:08 remaining in the Class B field hockey regional final against Garden City, giving the Hornets a 2-1 triumph on Nov. 4 at Patchogue-Medford High School.

“We caused a corner and the ball was inserted to Caroline Cahill and she hit it hard to goal, and a defender on Garden City had touched the ball, pushing it toward the goal line, so I fought hard to get in position and then quickly pushed the ball over the line,” Cappello said. “It felt amazing to be able to put our team in the lead after a very competitive game.”

Kelsey McCrudden also scored and Cassie Halpin saved four shots for Lakeland.

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“Every single one of us worked our hardest every second of the game, and the game-winning goal was a result of all of us, especially Caroline, who created the corner and put the ball toward the goal,” Cappello said. “I’m very happy about our game today and can’t wait for next weekend.”

That’s when Lakeland will look for its ninth straight state title, when it plays in the state final four at Maine-Endwell High School, Nov. 11-12.

Top-seeded Lakeland won the Section 1 Class B title game 4-0 against No. 3 Rye on Nov. 1 at Pace University.

“It’s such an amazing feeling to capture something everyone has worked so hard for,” Kelsey McCrudden said. “Every year we are a completely different team and work just as hard for the same goal, to win a section title. We think about this one day for 365 days of the year and it’s such an incredible feeling to win a section title.”

Jenna McCrudden put the Hornets up 1-0 before a goal by Kelsey McCrudden gave them a 2-0 halftime lead against the Garnets.

“My little sister, Jenna, really set the tone of the game by scoring first and igniting our team,” Kelsey McCrudden said. “After that our team was able to keep the ball in our offensive end and continue to put shots on goal. I saw an opportunity on a quick restart and brought it into our attack to shoot it on my reverse from the top of the circle. Knowing that all my team’s efforts all year long made me score that goal was phenomenal and I’m so proud of my team.”

Cappello (1A) and Cahill tallied second-half goals for the Hornets.

“It’s such an overwhelming feeling,” Cahill said. “I don’t think it has truly sunk in for any of us yet. Every year we set our minds on one thing, winning a section title, and now that that has been accomplished it’s a sigh of relief but at the same time it’s a force that’ll drive us through the rest of postseason. Also, it’s an extra special season having it be my senior year and being able to continue on through postseason after such an important game is a great feeling.”

Jessica Ascencao (1A) and Halpin (2 saves) also contributed to the win against Rye.

Lakeland (20-0) won its Section 1 Class B semifinal contest with a 6-0 victory against No. 4 visiting Somers on Oct. 31, led by Cahill (4G), Kelsey McCrudden (1G, 2A), Alexa Ryan (1G) and Julia Papanicolaou (1A).

“Individually and as a team we were so successful against Somers because of the way we moved the ball,” Cahill said. “Before the game Sars (coach Sharon Sarsen) was putting a lot of emphasis on using the outside of the field so I was able to work together with the forward in front of me to try and create scoring opportunities. Obviously none of those goals or our section title would have happened without the effort and time put in by our whole team so it was, as it usually is, a great team effort.”

Halpin, Miranda Lopes (1 save) and Kellie Smith (1 saves) all combined to earn the shutout in goal against the Tuskers.

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