MONTROSE – Hen Hud found itself in an all-too-familiar position on Wednesday.
For the fifth straight game, the Sailors were in a one-goal game late. This time, they were up by one against visiting Briarcliff with 33 seconds left.
Hen Hud won the draw control, but turned the ball over with 19 seconds left.
Briarcliff tried to quickly move the ball upfield but was swarmed by Hen Hud’s defense and unable to advance into the offensive third. Hen Hud escaped with an 11-10 win.
“When it comes down to the final possession like that, it is all about heart,” Hen Hud senior Montana Garrett said. “We were able to hold them to it and make sure they didn’t get that last goal. The team chemistry we have this year is unbelievable.”
Hen Hud, which has gone 4-2 in the last six games, has gained a lot of experience playing in tight situations over that stretch.
With sectionals coming up next week, Wednesday might not be the last time the Sailors find themselves in a tight situation.
“I think it’s good for the girls that they’ve had that experience, that way they know when we’re stalling what to do right and when we’re down, how to get the ball back,” Hen Hud head coach Mary Honovich said. “Hopefully, we’re ready.”
Down 9-3 at one point, Briarcliff battled back but was unable to complete the comeback. The Bears finished the regular season with a 9-7 record.
“I think the way we ended this game, we realized we can compete, we can come back,” Briarcliff head coach Jessica McDonough said. “We’re just taking it one game at a time, one ground ball at a time and keeping it very simple.”
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Before the game, Hen Hud honored its four seniors: Garrett, Jenna Richardson, Katie Lupisello and Anna Rizzo.
“We’ve all been playing since Cortlandt Youth Lacrosse since we’ve been 8 years old; we’re all friends, we all have that chemistry and we really have it,” Richardson said. “We’ve had a pretty good season, it’s going to be sad leaving them.”
Hen Hud will play its season finale against Beacon tomorrow and then wait for the sectional tournament bracket to come out. The Sailors, who play in Class C, made it to the semifinal last year before losing to eventual sectional champion Bronxville, a team that is very much looking like favorites to repeat.
“I love when we see on Twitter when we’re picked as the underdogs,” Richardson said. “It motivates us so much more to win. We just want to make it past the semifinals.”
Player of the game: Lexi Grasso, Briarcliff. The senior midfielder nearly single-handedly led her team to a comeback in the second half, highlighted by a left-handed bounce shot from the left side that hit the top right corner. She finished with four goals, two assists and 10 ground balls.
Turning point: With 7:07 left in the first half, Briarcliff tied the score at 3-3 on a goal from Jordana Cohen. A minute later, Richardson scored off of a free position to give Hen Hud the lead back. The Sailors scored five more unanswered goals, the last one by Garrett, to take a 9-3 lead with 21:11 left in the second half.
Stat line: Garrett finished with four goals, while Richardson had a hat trick. … For Hen Hud, Katy Kenny had two goals and an assist, Rachel Palka had a goal and an assist, Kamryn Sherman had two assists, Gabby Blitzer and Rizzo had a goal each and Mackenzie Porter made nine saves. … For Briarcliff, Cohen had a hat trick, Jill Reiner had a goal and an assist, Jayne Levy and Jill Maguffin had a goal each, Nikki Nero had two assists, Maddie Plank had an assist and Liz Kreppel made six saves.
Quotable: “Especially on senior night, it was really important to come out with a win; it was good to close it out with our teammates, it means a lot to us,” Garrett said. “We’re not here to just look at the brackets and where we fall. We’re here to make a statement; we’re looking to prove everybody else wrong because we know how much potential we have.”