Gavis gives KHS MHAL title over Rondout
RED HOOK >> Grace Gavis’ goal with 3:49 left in double overtime lifted Kingston High to a thrilling 1-0 victory over rival Rondout Valley for the Mid-Hudson Athletic League field hockey championship Thursday evening.
With no lights on the field, an overcast sky and darkness creeping in, the unbeaten Tigers and two-time defending champion Ganders were very close to being declared co-champions.
The MHAL follows national rules which dictates that, after the two overtimes, the match would be decided by penalty strokes. It looked like there would not be enough daylight to accomplish that.
The match proved to be a classic back-and-forth battle between the 25-yard-lines with scoring opportunities few and far between. Kingston outshot Rondout 6-1, but the Ganders had a 5-3 edge in penalty corners. Rondout goalkeeper Courtney Smith made three saves. The Tigers’ Abby Brocco, who was celebrating her birthday, had one save while posting the shutout.
The Ganders broke up a scoring bid by Olivia Prizzi late in the second OT, but that led to the decisive penalty corner.
Meghan Gavis got the ball to Kelsey Fairley at the top of the cir-
cle. Twin sister Grace spun and blasted Fairley’s long pass into the cage for the winner.
“I just saw the ball coming towards me and we’ve been practicing stuff like that all season long.” said Gavis, a midfielder who was moved to attack when it became seven-on-seven in OT. “I had a bad practice yesterday. I had to turn it on for this game.
“I was just in the right place and at the right time. It’s probably the best moment of my entire life.”
It was the (13-0-1) Tigers’ first league title in three years.
Kingston nearly had the lead a minute into the match when Brooke Gastin beat a defender to go oneon-one with Smith, but the shot went wide.
Rondout appeared to have a chance for a goal at the end of the first half when Brocco deflected Makaylah Mutz’s rising shot. Officials agreed, though, that had the shot gone in, it would have been ruled dangerous (too high) and been disallowed.
Rondout, which had to fight off two-minute Tiger power plays in each half, did a tremendous job in
The (10-3-3) Ganders had their share of opportunities. Sasha Stratton had a breakaway bid in the closing seconds of the second OT that was denied. Rondout had a pair of corners in the first overtime, but Prizzi broke it up each time. Meghan Gavis had an short angled shot on goal with three minutes left in the first OT, but Smith kicked it away.
“Our defense was outstanding tonight. All the girls, from one end of the field to the other,” said Kingston coach Debbie Eaton, “and the reason that we can prevail in a game like this is because
we have so much depth on our team. I was able to sub freely all season long. Those guys got a lot of experience this year and it showed today. They could step into a game like this and prevail.”
“I think both teams played well. I’m very pleased with how my team played,” Rondout coach Nanette Simione said. “I think that they did a fantastic job defensively: covering passing lanes, doubleteaming, winning the ball back.
“We did a really great job moving the ball upfield. We did,” she said. “We weren’t able to capitalize when the ball was in our circle.”