NISKAYUNA A ray of hope was all that the Niskayuna field hockey team needed to pull off a comeback win.
Erin Down scored off a penalty corner after time expired in the second half, and Katie Wells tallied with 3:04 left in the first overtime period to give the Silver Warriors a 2-1 victory over Shenendehowa Friday.
The penalty corner was called with one second left in regulation and with Shen leading 1-0. In field hockey, the half can't end on a penalty corner until the ball is cleared by the defense or is knocked into the goal by the offense.
"We had the game won," said Shen coach Jeanne Frevola. "All we had to do was hit the ball out of bounds, and the game would have been over."
"They knew that time was winding down and if they wanted to tie it, they had to push through all obstacles," said Niskayuna coach Alison Broomhead.
Niskayuna (14-0 league) got an initial shot off the penalty corner that was stopped by Shen goaltender Melissa Nealon, but Nealon wasn't allowed to cover up the ball per field hockey rules. A scrum ensued in front of the Shen goal as virtually every player from both sides crowded around the ball trying to either get it into the cage or out of harm's way.
"It was close," said Wells, who was in the scrum. "Two people had their sticks on the ball at all times."
Somehow the ball got free for a moment, and Down was there to knock it into the cage to tie the score at 1.
"They just really pursued the ball, and they weren't going to give up until it went through the cage," said Broomhead.
In overtime, both teams had to take four players off the field to create a seven-on-seven match-up. That worked in Niskayuna's favor, as it created several rushes on the Shen cage.