One thought entered Alex Theisen’s mind as the final horn sounded on Tuesday. Her Red Hook High School field hockey team’s season ended the way it has for the Raiders three seasons in a row, a defeat in the Section 9 Class B final.
“We’re winning sectionals next year,” the Raiders’ junior goalkeeper said after her team’s 1-0 loss to Rondout Valley at Hudson Valley Sports Dome. “I’m already thinking about it. The second I stepped off the field, I thought, we’re going to win sectionals, no matter what.”
The victory gave Rondout Valley its third straight Section 9 Class B title, all against the Raiders, all by shutout. Red Hook won the Class B title in 2009 and 2010.
Rondout Valley’s Kaleigh Gilliland connected on the game’s only goal on a deflection off an Alex Mondini tip after a penalty corner, beating Theisen 5:47 into the contest.
Red Hook did not register an official shot or have a penalty corner, but Theisen, who made 18 saves, stood up to the Ganders, kicking and sprawling and positioning herself in front of most Rondout Valley opportunities.
“It was a lot. Too much,” Theisen said of Rondout Valley’s penalty corners. “We don’t usually get that many penalty corners off of us. Just give it your all and charge the ball. Nothing more you can do than that.”
Red Hook coach Diane Zduniak thought her team’s resistance to those Ganders chances was strong.
“My goalie had an awesome game,” Zduniak said. “Alex kept the ball out of there. Defense played hard and strong and they never gave up.”
Red Hook (7-6-1) regularly struggled to gain ground. The closest it came to scoring was a deep bouncer midway through the first half that came up on Rondout Valley goalie Gabby Waterman and was kicked away. Since the chance was from outside the box, it wasn’t an official shot and likely would not have counted if it went in the net.
“I think we’re even-skilled,” Red Hook junior Jessica Osterhoudt said. “Going head to head with even-skilled teams brings a lot of pressure because we know we bring a lot of pressure.”
Red Hook graduates five seniors off this year’s squad — captains Talia Stortini and Mackenzie Abela, Hannah Hackett, Danielle Comerford and Colette Sofokles. Next year’s team returns 12 juniors.
“I think since we have a younger team and we’ve been working together throughout the years, I think it’s going to be great next year,” Osterhoudt said. “I think we’re going to get better and better.”
Rondout Valley (13-1-3) advanced to the state Class B quarterfinals where it will face the Section 4 champion at noon on Nov. 9 at noon at Hudson Valley Sportsdome.
“No one gave up,” Theisen said. “That’s what I saw out there. Both teams. No one gave up.”