SIMSBURY >> Granby defender Allison Ricci found the most opportune time in her four years to score her first career goal, scoring the game-winning goal in penalty strokes to lift Granby past Northwest Catholic and into the Class S field hockey title game.
“I wanted to score so bad for the team. I didn’t want this to be my last game,” said Ricci, one of the captains for the Bears. “I didn’t even realize if I scored we would win.”
Ricci’s goal, though, didn’t win the game for the Bears then and there; instead it put them up 3-2 with a chance to seal the victory if goalie Hanna Crose could make one more save against Northwest Catholic shooter Madison Mortillaro.
“We practiced them especially in the past week or so,” said Crose, a sophomore.
Mortillaro’s shot was right at Crose who punched it away.
“I can’t believe I did it; my confidence skyrocketed,” said Crose.
Granby head coach, Sandy Wickman Mason, said that at practice Crose is always asking to practice penalty strokes and after the third overtime ended, Crose was confident that they would win.
“I am so proud of Hanna Crose,” said Wickman Mason. “She came into the huddle and said ‘I got this.’”
Northwest Catholic head coach, Bill Mullady, was proud of his team for its performance.
“I told them to keep their heads held high,” he said. “They left it all on the field. I am proud of them; it was a great season.”
The Indians came in as the No. 4 seed in Class S, but it was a surprise to them that they even made it this far.
“We weren’t expecting to be here,” said Mullady.
It was the fourth straight overtime game for the Indians, said Mullady.
Granby held the ball for most of regulation and dominated play in the three 10 minute overtime periods but they weren’t able to capitalize on their chances.
“They could have given up; it was frustrating,” said Wickman Mason of her team’s inability to score. “It wasn’t like we didn’t get shots off; the bounces weren’t going our way.”
As the game continued past regulation and into overtime the Bears were losing players to various minor injuries and Wickman Mason had to go into the bench.
“There were kids out there who wouldn’t normally play seven-on-seven,” she said. “This is a pretty special group. We don’t have a superstar; we had to battle as a team.”
Granby will face No. 3 Stonington, in search of its fifth Class S title in the last seven years, on Saturday at 10 a.m. at Wethersfield.
“I’m ready for whatever comes,” said Crose.
Granby 1 Northwest Catholic 0 (3-2 PS)
At Simsbury High School
Granby 0 0 0 0 0 (3) – 1
Northwest Catholic 0 0 0 0 0 (2) – 0
G – Amanda Jacobs (goal); Kathryn Calnen (goal); Olivia Johnson (miss); Allison Ricci (goal).
NC – Jessica Jordano (goal); Sarah McLaughlin (goal); Hope Vaughn (miss); Mary Budnick (miss); Madison Mortillaro (miss).
Saves: G – Hannah Crose 7; NW – Christina Wilson 9.
Records: Granby 14-5-0-0, Northwest Catholic 15-2-1-1.