WHS Field Hockey Repeats as Section III Class D Champions


Ben Grieco, Staff Writer

Section III, Class D Field Hockey Semi-Final against the New York Mills Marauders

The Weedsport Varsity Field hockey team kept the ball in their offensive zone for a lot of the first half of the game, versus the New York Mills Varsity team. After six shots on goal by the Warriors, nothing hit the back of the Marauders goal.

“It was very frustrating, we dominated the game, but we were not scoring…” said head coach, Theresa Leonardi, who was looking for her second sectional title. The warriors had five penalty corners during the half, but none could convert. Junior, Nicole Soutar had two saves in goal. “They had a one goal lead. It’s not a lot, but until you tie them, it’s enough to win the game.”

Throughout the entire first half, it seemed that the Marauders had no offense, whatsoever. It can be implied that they have good defense, looking at both the statistics and the score. However, they did get some offense with 5:45 left, and it seemed to stay there. Eventually, they scored with 1:48 left in the first, with a strong save attempt by Soutar. Brianna Fuscillo had the goal.

“It kinda put me down a little bit,” said Soutar. “I knew that we were going to keep coming strong, and even though they only had one goal, I knew the offense was going to take care of scoring.”

For the final minute, Soutar had to make some pretty spectacular saves, and she pulled it off, finishing the half with a final score of 1-0. The girls went into halftime with their momentum down.

“You know, we knew we were very capable of scoring on them, and very capable of winning against them,” said Leonardi. “We just talked about things we were doing right, and things we needed to correct…” The girls entered the second half with New York Mills starting with the ball, and shooting a lot. Soutar had to make numerous saves, and attempts, and she pulled it off.

“I knew that I was doing okay ,” said Soutar on beginning the second half. “Mentally I had to step it up.” For the beginning, you could say Weedsport had some strong defense after keeping the score 1-0. The Warrior’s offense had little spurts of play, including senior captain, Lexi Randall’s movement all the way down the field from defense to offense, but couldn’t get anything going.

With 10:40 remaining in the second half, Leonardi called Weedsport’s first timeout.

From the stands, Leonardi did not look happy when she called it. The girls had little momentum return then, as New York Mills was committing a lot of penalties. Weedsport couldn’t convert any of them. Weedsport would try something new, but New York Mills would quickly force a turnover, and back to defense the Warriors went.

In the second half, Weedsport fans, parents, and players finally got what they wanted. A Marauder got a green card for a push. She was sent to the sideline by the referee. A little bit after, Leonardi called another timeout.

Then, momentum hit the Warriors. Randall, who is also the Warriors’ leading scorer, tipped a shot towards the net by junior, Jeslyn Files. The goal hit the back of the net at 3:25 left in the second.

“I felt great, I wasn’t going to give up,” said Randall. “I knew there was enough time left in the game to put one in.”

After calm play from 3:25 on, Leonardi called a third timeout at 1:44, hoping to seal the game there.

With about ten seconds left, the Warriors received one of their nine penalty corners for the second half. The Warriors started the clock, after a timeout, and after some nice passing, and a beautiful shot after two sprawled out New York Mills players, junior Kayla Stock scored the game winning goal with 1.7 seconds left in the game.

“I was so excited,” said Stock. “Honestly, I didn’t even believe that it happened.” She was assisted by Randall to seal the semi-final win.

The entire Warriors team immediately ran to midfield, to celebrate as one giant team. The Warriors had to play the final 1.7 seconds, with New York Mills having possession. But as soon as the final buzzer went off, the stands, and the Weedsport bleachers went crazy.

“Before we got to [the goal], we got down to 3:25 left in the game,” said Leonardi on the win with 1.7 seconds left. “By that point, we were really nervous…until we actually scored, there was tremendous pressure. Once we scored that goal, I felt very, very confident…I knew our kids were faster and had better stick work…It was really, really sweet when Kayla scored that goal…they literally had no time to set anything up. It was one of the most exciting games I’ve coached.”

The Warriors went on to face a former foe, the Morrisville-Eaton Warriors, who they faced in the sectional final last year, when the Warriors won their first sectional title since 1995, with a final score of 3-2.

For statistics, the Warriors had a team final of: Two goals, 42 team fouls, 14 penalty corners, and 11 shots on goal.

Randall finished the game with the tying goal, and one assist on the game-winner. Stock finished with one goal. Files finished with one assist. Soutar finished with four goalie saves in net, while allowing one goal.


Section III, Class D Field Hockey Final against the Morrisville-Eaton Warriors

The field hockey team came back to Liverpool High School on Thursday, October 29, to seal the Section III, Class D final victory for the second year in a row. The game seemed to be “The Final of the Underclassmen.”

The girls came out in a strong fashion, scoring the first goal against Morrisville-Eaton only 6:22 into the first half. Freshman Libby Nemec scored the goal, with an assist from Alisha Wittmer.

“It felt amazing, because I’m a freshman,” said Nemec on the goal. “I didn’t expect to be scoring in a game like that.”

Just a short while after, before Morrisville-Eaton could really get reset, the Weedsport Warriors’ overpowering offense came into Morrisville-Eaton’s defensive zone, and sophomore Ashley Wightman scored an insurance goal, to make the score 2-0.  The goal came off an assist from Grace Beardsley.

Then, just like before, Wightman came in once again to score against the red-shirted Warriors, to increase the lead 3-0. This goal came from an assist from Files.

The ladies seemed to have a groove and pushed through the first half to keep Morrisville-Eaton shut out.

“Our defense has really come a long way. Nicole Soutar has been outstanding in goal all season…” said Leonardi on the Warriors’ defense throughout the opening half. “…I really think they all rose to the challenge and did a fine job.”

In the second half, Weedsport kept Morrisville-Eaton to a minimum amount of offense, however throughout the half, the red-shirted Warriors were able to score on Soutar to make the score 3-1 (which would eventually be the final score).

“I got nervous that they were going to make a huge comeback and that the one goal was going to be a major comeback,” said Soutar on the one goal allowed. “It gave me the determination to stop every ball that came next.”

“Well, it certainly was a concern at halftime,”  said TL on the impact that the goal had on the girls. “…If you’re up 3-1, you know if they come out and pop a goal in, it’s now 3-2 and it’s a whole other ballgame…”

Other than the one M-E goal, the second half went by fast, and there weren’t too many exciting moments from the half.

Individual Stats included: One goal from Libby Nemec, two goals from Ashley Wightman, one assist each from Alisha Wittmer, Jeslyn Files, and Grace Beardsley. Nicole Soutar had five saves in the goal, with one goal allowed.

“My senior year was amazing and I wouldn’t have had it any other way, we played our hearts out,” said Randall for her senior year sectional final. “We deserved to win the semi-finals, and final – and we did it.”


Class C/D Playoff Game against the Cazenovia Lakers; Season Wrap Up

The Warriors travelled to Fayetteville-Manlius on November 1, to play against Cazenovia for the Class C/D Playoff. The Warriors fell to the outstanding Lakers with a final score of 7-0.

The Warriors were not able to put up any shots on goal against the strong Laker defense.

“I was hoping for a different outcome,” said Soutar. “But Cazenovia is a really good team, and props to them. Cazenovia gave me practice. I’m going to be ready for Caz next year.” Despite the goals allowed, she had 14 saves in net.

“I am tremendously proud of each girl, and to lose six seniors and come back and repeat as county champs, league champs, and sectional champs is outstanding,” said Leonardi for a end-of-season statement. “I couldn’t be more proud.”

The varsity team will lose four seniors: Grace Beardsley, Lexi Randall, Alisha Witter, and Bri Jackson.

“My plans for after high school is getting a job in the medical field,” said Randall, who was Weedsport’s leading goal scorer, on her plans for after her Weedsport career concludes. “I enjoy helping others that are in need.”

The girls finished an outstanding season, with a final regular season record of 13-3. The girls came into the sectional tournament as the No. 1 seed. They won their fifth straight Cayuga County Tournament, as well as their second straight league title. This season was unforgettable in the eyes of Weedsport. Congratulations to the Varsity Field Hockey Team on one outstanding season.