CAMDEN – The Whitesboro Warriors needed someone to break through during a scoreless Section 3 Class B semifinal field hockey game against rival New Hartford.
Madeline Krecidlo gave the Warriors just what they needed with a reverse stick rebound goal with 22:43 remaining and Morgan LeBuis added a late goal as Whitesboro advanced to the finals with a 2-0 victory Monday.
“I think we just needed a break and just needed to get that first goal,” Whitesboro head coach Renee LaValley said. “After we did, we relaxed and played the way we’re capable by passing and playing together. There’s nothing we can’t do when we work together.”
Senior defender Carina Haden’s persistence was crucial in Whitesboro gaining the advantage. Haden took a penalty corner and drove it at the net. It was stopped by New Hartford, but Haden stole it and attempted another shot that was stopped again. Once again, Haden stole back the ball and sent a shot in that caromed right to Krecidlo, who knocked it in off the bounce.
“I love to hover on the left stroke line and I knew Madeline is always at the far corner. It just took me a couple times to get it over to her.”
Krecidlo, a junior attack was excited to contribute to her team’s goal of winning their first sectional title in field hockey since 1983.
“It felt awesome,” Krecidlo said. “It was pretty important and set off and started our intensity.”
New Hartford goal keeper Rebekah Stolo stopped 14 shots and LaValley knew it was going to be tough to get anything past her.
“That was huge,” LaValley said of Haden’s play to set up the goal. “This goalie (Stolo) is really good and you have to go around her to score and that’s how we got that goal.”
Whitesboro’s momentum was almost short-lived as New Hartford’s speedy forward Emma Zupan got behind the defense and appeared to put in the tying goal with 20 minutes remaining, but the goal was disallowed after being ruled that the ball rebounded off Zupan’s leg and into the goal.
“That wasn’t the difference in the game,” said New Hartford head coach Monica Storms, who coached several of the Warriors in 2014. “I think it took a lot out of our girls, but we were a step behind them the entire game.”
That opportunity was New Hartford’s last solid chance as the Warriors controlled possession and kept the pressure on deep in the Spartans’ end for the remainder of the game. With 7 minutes remaining, LeBuis ended all doubt by knocking home Clair Wiley’s deflected shot for a 2-0 lead.
It was a great effort from LeBuis, who was camped out at the far post and hit the ball in from shoulder height into an open goal.
“It got us so pumped up,” said LeBuis, who has deep ties to the history of Whitesboro field hockey.
“It’s exciting because the last time we won sectionals was when my mom (Darlene) played (1984).” I’m proud to get there and I’m hoping to win so I can follow in her footsteps.”
While the Spartans were outplayed for the majority of the game, they had some chances to grab the lead early in the first half. Their best opportunity was in the opening few minutes when a blast off a penalty corner got through and seemed destined for the corner of the net, but Whitesboro senior defender Paige Warmuth stopped it cold to negate the opportunity.
From then on it was Whitesboro’s game as the Warriors dominated the passing game and possession time. However, the loss didn’t take from what was a great season for a young New Hartford team that lost most of their team that won the title last season.
“We were underdogs and we started the season going to VVS and got crushed 6-2. We just started to play as a team as the season went on and came into this game with a lot of momentum. But today they were the better team and we just were a step behind them. We weren’t proactive. We just were reacting to what they were doing all game.”
The top-seeded Warriors are pumped for their final against No. 3 Camden. The teams met twice during the season. Camden won 3-2 at home, and the teams tied 3-3 at Whitesboro.
“I expect a win,” said LaValley, who was coach when the Warriors last made the final in 2011 against East Syracuse-Minoa. “We’re the No. 1 seed and without a doubt I feel like we can win it. We just need to play tough, determined and together with the same kind of hustle.”
Haden is hoping to add a championship to her high school field hockey career.
“I’m so ready,” Haden said. “I think this is our year to win.”
Whitesboro 2, New Hartford 0
New Hartford (10-8): Rebekah Stolo 14 saves.
Whitesboro (10-4-2): Madeline Krecidlo 1-0, Morgan LeBuis 1-0, Claire Wiley 0-1. Jessica Mahardy 3 saves.
Nick Sardina is a writer for midyorksportsreport.com. Follow Nick onTwitter @nsardinamysr or on Facebook. Contact him via email at