|SECTION IV FIELD HOCKEY: OWEGO FALLS TO AFTON IN CLASS B CHAMPIONSHIP (2018-10-26)
BY TIM TAYLOR
Tioga County Sports Report
GREENE — With a talented group of seniors leading the way, Afton cruised past Owego, 11-0, in the Section IV Class B championship game here Friday night.
Team captains Madison Baciuska and Casey East accounted for six goals, and classmates Makaela Mills and Sam Schoelier added one apiece as the Knights (11-4) notched their ninth shutout of the season and sixth win by five or more goals.
“They’ve always had a really good program, especially the last few years. Last year, a real close game with Whitney Point in the Class C final,” said Owego head coach Kylie Hrehor. “We knew coming in they were going to be very good.”
Afton was quick afoot on a chilly evening and East found the back of the cage just 39 seconds into the game. She increased the Knights’ lead to 2-0 with 23:02 remaining in the first half.
Sophomore Taylor Schultz made it 3-0 on a pass from Mills on a penalty corner with 19:40 to go and Baciuska push the advantage to 4-0 at 16:40 with the first of her team-high four goals.
Mills scored at 11:47, Baciuska got her second tally at 5:58 and Schoelier joined the scoring frenzy with 20 seconds left in the half, giving Afton a 7-0 cushion at the break.
“Their passing is very good. Their off-ball movement is really good. Their stick handling is really quick,” Hrehor said.
Baciuska doubled her scoring output with the first two goals of the second half, scoring at 26:44 and the 12-minute mark. Mills and Schoelier were credited with assists.
With the Knights ahead, 9-0, junior Hannah Tracy added a goal with the assist going to Mills. Junior McKenzie Hoyt finished off the scoring with 6 1/2 minutes to play.
Despite the one-sided loss, the Indians refused to quit.
“The thing of it is our girls didn’t give up, the whole 60 minutes,” Hrehor said. “It doesn’t matter what the score was. They were right there fighting. They never gave up.
“You have to give us props. We played the entire 60 minutes. We made the adjustments a lot better when I had more than the 90 seconds in a timeout to talk about the adjustments and the girls did it. We started to get some scoring opportunities. We got a couple shots off, some corners. They definitely made the adjustments better in the second half.”
Afton was credited with 17 shots on goal, Owego one, and the Knights held a 12-3 advantage in penalty corners.
Sarah Haskell pulled the majority of the duty in goal for Owego and combine with Kiara Smith to make nine saves.
Herder noted her squad did show some major improvement this season.
“We went 7-10,” she said. “Last year, we only won three games, lost in the sectional finals, a great 3-0 game to Vestal. We grew by leaps and bounds this year, not only just within the team, but each player individually as well.”
IN PHOTO 1: Owego's Julia Hurlburt (right). ... PHOTOS BY TIM TAYLOR.