VESTAL – Nicknamed T.C. (Too Cool) by her older sister, Greene senior Erin Smith showed the icy-cold nerves needed to convert a critical penalty stroke.
Smith’s first-half goal with 20:02 remaining in the first half was the lone tally in the Trojans’ 1-0 Class A state semifinals win over previously-unbeaten Williamsville North at Dick Hoover Field on Friday afternoon.
Greene (19-0) meets Mamaroneck in the state finals Saturday at 12 p.m. at Hoover Field in a bid for its first state title since 2002. Mamaroneck was the 2004 Class A state champion.
“We just played awesome,” said Greene head coach Sue Carlin. “Last week we didn’t play our best. I’m happy to have ‘this’ team back.”
Greene played the role of aggressor throughout the first half generating 13 shots and six penalty corners. Spartans keeper, Jessica Wess, was up to the task, but was in dire straits as the Trojans were poised for the opening goal. With the ball behind her and Greene freshman Jahna Driscoll ready to put her team on the board, Wess jumped on the ball to end the scoring threat. By rule, the Trojans were awarded a penalty corner, and Smith found a home for the ball in the left side of the cage. “Erin has had a couple other (penalty strokes) this season, and she was certainly very cool on this one,” Carlin said.
Held to one shot and zero corners in the first half, the momentum of the game shifted to Williamsville, who put together seven shots and six corners in the second half, and completely dominated play the final 10 minutes of the contest.
“They put a tremendous amount of pressure on us, and I was proud that we played so composed,” Carlin said. “We just refused to lose this game.”
Greene, whose defense had seldom been pressured for more than a few moments in winning 19 straight games -- 16 by shutout – did not forget how to play at that end of the field. “The seniors were really leaders out there and stepped up for us,” Carlin said. “They’re on a mission.”
Mission almost accomplished.
(1-0 Greene at the half)
Goals-assists: (G) Erin Smith, 1-0 (penalty stroke)
Shots-penalty corners: (G) 16-9, (WN) 8-5
Saves: (G) Devyn Staley, 6, (WN) Jessica Wess, 12.