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Weather, loss can't dampen field hockey team's spirit

Nothing really bothered the Saratoga Springs field hockey team in last weekend's trip to the state Class A final four at Cicero-North Syracuse.

When a November snowstorm postponed the Blue Streaks' semifinal game against Section I champion Lakeland, the team just relaxed and spent the night at the Carrier Dome, watching the Syracuse University men's basketball team beat Fordham.

And even when Lakeland, the defending state champion, beat Saratoga 2-0 Saturday night, the mood remained buoyant from players and fans alike.

The Toga! Toga! chants from Saratoga students and parents echoed through the field even after the final whistle " a lasting tribute to a gritty, tough team that exceeded everyone's expectations to reach this point.

This marked the first time the Blue Streaks had to travel in the postseason. They had won both the Section II final and the regional championship game at nearby Skidmore College.

At Cicero-North Syracuse, there was no respite from the snow. So much of it fell that officials abandoned the first class A semifinal between Williamsville North and Ward Melville, moving everything to Saturday, when it cleared up.

All through the first half, Lakeland tried to use its speed and stick skills to seize control, but the Saratoga defense refused to budge. Morgan Powell, Michelle Riley, Kirstyn Powell and Maggie DeLoria cut off the Hornets' chances, and goalie Erin Delancey made some timely saves.

The Blue Streaks earned a series of penalty corners early in the second half, but Lakeland's defense stepped in and blocked every shot.

Ultimately, those set plays would make the difference. The Hornets drew their own penalty corner, and Tara McGovern fed it to Caitlin Collins, whose hard shot from the point zoomed past Delancey into the goal box for a 1-0 lead.

The Hornets sealed the victory off another penalty corner late in the second half, as Collins this time fed the ball to Cassandra O'Mara, who shot it home.

Saratoga finished its season with a 17-4 record.""

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