Here is my story on Suffern’s win over Shaker to return to the state semifinals.
HILLBURN There was no hiding the excitement Suffern’s Dana Gisonno had entering Saturday’s Class A regional final against Section 2’s Shaker.
The junior’s adrenaline was peaking from the initial whistle as she looked to help send her team back to the state semifinals.
Gisonno’s enthusiasm showed, as she scored the Mounties first three goals and finished with a game-high seven in Suffern’s 15-9 win over the Bison at Torne Valley to earn a spot in the state semifinals for the second-straight season.
“After I got my second or third goal I was like, ‘I’m feeling it,’” Gisonno said. “I knew I could go to goal and just fake the goalie out.”
Suffern will play the winner of Sunday’s long island championship game between Section 8’s Farmingdale and Section 11’s West Islip Friday at SUNY Cortland at 2:30 p.m.
Gisonno scored five of Suffern’s six first-half goals as the Mounties held a 6-3 lead at halftime.
“I think it probably rattled Shaker a little bit,” Suffern coach John Callanan said. “She’s a very difficult kid to match up with. … She’s a specimen.”
Shaker (17-2) didn’t go away, though, and with 17:49 remaining the Bison trailed 7-5 and had a one-player advantage. Suffern (16-3) was able to weather the storm and took advantage of Shaker getting into foul trouble by going on a six-goal run to take a 13-5 lead with 6:06 remaining.
“It took us a little bit of time to figure out their defense and how to look for weaknesses in it,” Callanan said. “Once we were able to get the ball moving and make some of the cuts I think we were able to find some seams and take advantage.”
In its last trip to the state semifinals, Suffern fell to Baldwinsville 9-8, despite holding a lead late in the game. Callanan and Gisonno both said the experience gained from last year’s trip should pay off this time around.
“I think last year almost everything was gravy after the sections,” Callanan said. “I think there is still an element of that, but these kids are deteremined. They’re not going up there just to kind of make friends. They’re going up there to bring home a championship.”