Gavis gives KHS MHAL ti­tle over Ron­d­out

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - SPORTS - By Mike Stribl mstribl@free­manon­line.com @MStribl on Twit­ter

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 cir­cle.

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.”

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