MEDINA — With under seven minutes remaining in Saturday afternoon’s Class C state quarterfinal field hockey matchup, Barker junior Gabby Clare knew she had to make something happen. Despite many earlier scoring opportunities by the Lady Raiders, the East Rochester defense came up with big stops time and again, and the game was still scoreless.
Until Clare made one of the plays of the year in local high school sports, taking possession of the ball near midfield and driving into the offensive zone with a crafty series of juke moves past East Rochester defenders. About 10 feet in front of the net, Clare fed a crisp crossing pass to sophomore Erin Greenwald, who didn’t miss a beat.
Greenwald’s goal put Barker up 1-0, and the Lady Raiders defense held tough the rest of the way. The 1-0 shutout victory over East Rochester at the Veterans Park turf in Medina sends Barker to the Class C state semifinals, where they will face Cazenovia at 3:30 p.m. this Saturday at Cicero-North Syracuse High School in Cicero.
“Going down, I didn’t know whether to take a shot or to dribble it in,” Clare said. “After I crossed it to Erin, I was thinking, ‘Please score,’ and then she did, and I couldn’t believe it. I was so excited.”
“She held it just long enough to draw that defender,” Barker head coach Jeff Costello said. “It left Erin open on the other side, and Erin has come up with some big goals for us this year. It’s exhilarating.”
Before Greenwald’s late tally, the story of the day was plenty of scoring opportunities for the Lady Raiders, but no goals. With a vocal contingent of fans rooting the team on, Barker rebounded from a lull midway through the first half to dominate possession throughout most of the second half. Costello urged the team continuously to possess the ball and draw penalty corners, and the Barker team responded with plenty of penalty corner opportunities, while limiting East Rochester’s offensive chances.