By Patrick Newell
Sun Sports Editor
GREENE – Greene waited 18 days between its final regular-season game and its first playoff game. Now, playing its third game in a month’s time, the Trojans are two wins away from their first field hockey state title in six years.
Greene (16-2) meets Section XI champion Ward Melville at 11:30 a.m. today at Chittenango High School in the New York State Class A semifinals. The winner returns to Chittenango Saturday at 10 a.m. in the championship game.
“This is kind of the same set up as 2002,” said Greene head coach Sue Carlin, who guided the Trojans to the state championship that season. “We played a Section XI team that year, and the only information we had (about the team) was a newspaper article I had read. We were successful then, and we hope we can be again.”
What Carlin does know is that, 1. Ward Melville must be a pretty good team to reach this point in the season. 2. It is the second straight year the Patriots have reached the state semifinals. 3. Ward Melville’s head coach is the same person Carlin matched up against two decades ago. That year, Carlin was heading up Maine-Endwell, while her opposing coach was leading Centereach. “I know we’re playing a team that is well coached, and they’re a team that is playing great hockey,” Carlin said. “Scouting helped us last year, but for years I never scouted, and I believe you can still be successful without it. We can’t be hung up on that. We have to perform and make adjustments as we go along. We have good athletes that can do that.”
The Trojans showed mettle and overcame early adversity to defeat Liverpool 2-1 in the state regional finals a week ago in Vestal. Less than four minutes into the game, the Warriors led by a goal. Before the game reached the eight-minute mark, that deficit was wiped away.
“It was great for our kids to get tested, and last week proved they can hang tough,” Carlin said. “We talked about the mental aspect of preparing to be down and how we will react. In recent years, we had not shown the mental toughness to come back. That veteran resolve is probably the most promising improvement our team has made this year.”