SYRACUSE, NY (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) — The fall sports season is winding down, and while the transition is mostly being made from the outdoor games to indoor games, several Central New York teams are still in the running for a state field hockey championship, which wrapped up its regular season on Saturday, October 14.
Eleven local teams have earned the right to move on to the Section III championships, and three teams have even earned top seeds in their respective classes at the sectional seeding meeting on Sunday, October 15. The rest learned their road to Sheveron Stadium at VVS and the sectional championship in just two weeks’ time:
The first is in Class A, where a 15-1 record — including eight straight wins and back-to-back shutouts to finish out the regular season — was enough to earn the RFA Black Knights the second seed. A pair of McMahons lead the charge for RFA; Isibeal leads the team with 21 goals and 52 points, while Fiona has 17 goals and 43 points. Their only loss this season came to top-seeded Cicero-North Syracuse back on September 22. The Black Knights will have a full week off while they await their opponent, which will be the winner of the game on Wednesday, October 17 between Liverpool and Auburn.
The Holland Patent Golden Knights picked up the top seed in Class B in what will be an all-local tournament in which Holland Patent is looking to defend their title. Despite a 2-4 start, the Golden Knights came roaring back in the latter half of the year, winning nine of their last ten games by a combined total of 40-10, including six shutouts by freshman Ava Larry, who has made 70 saves this season for a 73% save percentage. Holland Patent will host fourth-seeded New Hartford on Monday, October 23 in a rematch of last year’s sectional championship. Their only matchup in 2023 came on September 26, when senior Terra McLaughlin racked up four goals in a 7-1 victory.
The Spartans have had an up-and-down year, as they started it as Holland Patent did: at 2-4. New Hartford has been unstoppable when they win, though: in their seven victories, they’ve only given up one goal while putting together six shutouts. The Spartans have been led by Grace Bannigan this season; the freshman has racked up 13 goals this season, while junior Alannah Nole has racked up 57 saves.
The other matchup pits teams who reside only a half-hour from each other: Whitesboro and Camden. The Warriors come into their game with the Blue Devils looking to bounce back after losing three of their last four games to finish at 7-9. Junior Danica Knapp has made 118 saves for the Warriors, while a trio of sophomores — Gianna Ross, Ava Thorngren, and Brianna DeHimer — lead the attack with a combined 20 goals.
The Blue Devils have been one of the more dominant teams in Class B this season, not suffering a loss since September 25, a 1-0 decision to top-seeded Holland Patent. Since then, they’ve racked up eight straight wins — including a 4-3 redemption win over the Golden Knights — to finish at 13-3 this season. Senior attacker Rhyanne Johnson leads the Blue Devils in scoring with 15 goals, while junior attacker Cameron Shenk is not far behind with 14.
In Class C, everyone — including defending champion Canastota — are chasing the new look Clinton Comets. After a 7-3 loss to Class A top seed Cicero-North Syracuse in August, the Comets have not lost since, their only blemish being a scoreless tie to Class A Liverpool en route to a 13-1-1 record and the top seed. The Comets are led by three 40-plus point scorers: a pair of Grimms, Gracen (23 goals, 56 points) and Gretchen (17 goals, 48 points) — and Lauren Rey (21 assists, 43 points). On the defensive side, goaltender Taylor Rice has only allowed ten goals on the season, for a 75% save percentage.
The Comets await the winner of the game being played on Tuesday, October 17 between VVS and Canastota. The Red Devils managed to win two of their last three games to finish at 5-10 and make it in as the last team in Class C. Playoffs looked like a distant goal for VVS after losing five of their first six games. However, led by senior 40-point scorer Carmella Garcia (19 goals), the Red Devils were able to put together back-to-back shutouts before losing to Class B top seed Holland Patent to end their regular season. They will look to play Cinderella on Tuesday, October 17, when they travel to Canastota to face off with the defending sectional champions.
Meanwhile, the Mount Markham Mustangs have quietly put together the third-best record in the class, winning six of their last seven games by a combined 36-2 as they earned the third seed and going 13-3. Their only loss during that time was a 1-0 loss to fourth-seeded Canastota. Junior Lexi Wolfe is the leading goal scorer for the Mustangs, racking up three hat tricks in her last five games and 18 goals total, along with 49 points. The Mustangs will welcome sixth-seeded Homer to West Winfield on Wednesday, October 18, in a rematch of Mount Markham’s season opener which the Mustangs won 2-1. The winner of that game will go on to VVS to face second-seeded Cazenovia.
In Class D, the Little Falls Mounties picked up the top seed and the first round bye that came with it. The Mounties have won eight out of their last nine games, their only loss in that span coming to second-seeded Morrisville-Earon. Little Falls also started the season with a four-game winning streak after losing their first two to Class A’s Liverpool and Section II’s Johnstown. Their only other loss this season was to Class A Cicero-North Syracuse. The Mounties are led by three 30-point scorers, including senior Avery McLaughlin, who has racked up 43 this season. Defensively, goaltender Olivia Brand has only let in 18 goals this season, for a save percentage nearing 80%. The senior is also a dual threat, getting six points at her midfield position as well.
The Mounties await the winner of the first round game between fifth-seeded New York Mills and Weedsport on Tuesday, October 17. The Marauders have depended on the Marcheses — senior Talan (27 points) and sophomore Lily (22) — to help them through an up-and-down season, including losses in three of their last five games. What also did not help the Marauders was the fact that they did not have a single home game after September 28, a win against Herkimer. However, New York Mills was able to bounce back, winning two of their last three to get into the playoff field at 6-7.
The Sauquoit Valley Red Hawks were the last team to get into the Class D field, picking up a 2-0 win at Sherburne-Earlville on the last day of the season to finish at 4-12 and the sixth seed. The Red Hawks won only one of their first ten games, and were shut out a grand total of 11 times. However, the Red Hawks also won three out of their last six, led by goaltender Aubrey Bradbury, who stopped 70% of her shots this season. They will travel to Port Byron on Tuesday to take on the third-seeded Panthers, who are 7-1-1 against teams that have made the playoffs this season.
The full Section III field hockey schedule can be found below (all games will be at Vernon-Verona-Sherrill High School, unless otherwise noted):
Winner of Liverpool/Auburn vs. #2 Rome Free Academy — Tuesday, October 24 at 4 PM
#4 New Hartford vs. #1 Holland Patent — Monday, October 23 at 4 PM
#3 Whitesboro vs. #2 Camden — Monday, October 23 at 5:30 PM
#5 VVS at #4 Canastota — Tuesday, October 17 @ 4:30 PM at Canastota High School
Winner of VVS/Canastota vs. #1 Clinton — Sunday, October 22 at 11 AM
#6 Homer at #3 Mount Markham — Wednesday, October 18 at 3:30 PM at Mount Markham High School
Winner of Homer/Mount Markham vs. #2 Cazenovia — Sunday, October 22 at 12:30 PM
#5 New York Mills at #4 Weedsport — Tuesday, October 17 at 5 PM at Weedsport High School
Winner of New York Mills/Weedsport vs. #1 Little Falls — Sunday, October 22 at 2 PM
#6 Sauquoit Valley @ #3 Port Byron — Wednesday, October 18 at 5 PM at Port Byron High School
Winner of Sauquoit Valley/Port Byron vs. #2 Morrisville-Eaton, Sunday, October 22 at 7 PM
Section III Finals (all at Vernon-Verona-Sherrill High School) — Sunday, October 29