Rome Free Academy, Camden and Vernon-Verona-Sherrill will all have a chance at sectional glory when the three field hockey teams take the field at Cicero-North Syracuse High School on Saturday.
The second-seeded RFA Lady Black Knights will go up against No. 1 seed and undefeated 16-0-1 overall Liverpool in the Class A championship game at noon. Both schools will be looking for their 10th sectional title.
The 11-3-2 overall Rome squad will have senior Kaysie Gregory leading the way with a team-high 17 goals and 11 assists added to her credit this year. Gregory also broke the RFA all-time record for career assists with 37 helpers.
Junior Alexa Sanzone will also be one to watch after firing in 13 goals and two assists, as well as junior Meghan McCormick with four goals and 11 assists. Sophomore Ashley D’Amore has two goals and five assists this season, freshman Sam Grunder sports two goals and five assists, junior McKenzie Guy recorded two goals and an assist, eighth grader Alicia Swavely picked up two goals on the year. Freshmen Cheyenne Smith, Brianna Coia and Annika Guliano each have scored a goal apiece as well this season.
Goalkeeper Danielle Famolaro will get the start in net for Rome. The senior has recorded 115 saves, allowed 13 goals and had nine shutouts during the year. She also broke the all-time RFA record for career goalkeeper saves with 287 saves.
Longtime RFA head coach Linda Harjung said it should be one tight matchup since the two teams know each so well.
"It’s the same as every season where we play each other so much that we both know what we are going to do," she said.
The Class A title contest will be the Lady Knights’ and the Lady Warriors’ third meeting this year. Liverpool secured the first meeting between the two on Sept. 12 with a 2-1 win but it was the Lady Knights who gave the Lady Warriors their only non-winning decision on a 2-2 tie on Oct. 4.
Harjung added that her squad has to be on their toes throughout the entire contest because Liverpool always has a chance at coming back.
"Liverpool is always a come-from-behind team," she said. "We have to get a lead and keep it. We were ahead 2-0 in our second game against them but they still came back. The kids just need to come together and play. It’s a traditional rivalry, it’s always a tough game and always close. The kids are determined and have what it takes."
Junior Emma Lamison looks to pace Liverpool after scoring 16 goals and making 13 assists, along with senior co-captain Holly Clark with 15 goals and five assists, and as well as senior Danielle Abold with 13 goals and two assists.
Following the Class A title match beginning at 2 p.m., Camden and VVS will be set for possibly another classic faceoff in what will be the two teams’ fourth Class B championship match against one another in five years.
The 13-3-1 overall Lady Blue Devils also have a chance to rise to the top of all of field hockey by winning the school’s 13th sectional title for the most championships in Section III history. Camden currently shares that honor with Cooperstown and Morrisville-Eaton with 12 apiece. Morrisville-Eaton will also look to grab its 13th title when they face Sauquoit Valley in the Class D title round on Saturday, as well.
Camden, which handed VVS its only loss of the season, will be led by senior Kianne Hinkle with 15 goals and seven assists when the squad attempts to claim its third straight Section III title.
Junior Bailee Barrett joins Hinkle while sporting eight goals and six assists, as well as senior Aubrey Coon with seven goals and nine assists. Senior Holly VanDresar has seven goals and six assists, and sophomore Nicole Williams claimed seven goals and two assists this season.
Sophomore goalkeeper Emily Collins is expected to be in net for the reigning Tri-Valley League champion Camden after grabbing 70 saves on 109 shots faced and allowing 14 goals this season.
Camden coach and RFA graduate Shannon McPheron said the team that makes the least amount of mistakes will more than likely get the win.
"I’m pretty excited because with VVS it’s always going to be a competitive game," said McPheron, who will be going for her sixth sectional title with Camden. "At this point in the season, no game is going to be easy but that’s going to make us better. We can’t afford to make any mistakes. Our weakness this year has been our offensive circle play, so that has been a big focus for us in practice.
It’s anybody’s game. VVS has been very offensive this year, so we’ll have to rely on our defense and goalkeeper as well as our circle play and working together as a team," she added.
The Lady Red Devils, led by head coach Wendy Seifried, have also put on a record-breaking season to go along with their 16-1 overall record by scoring a total of 78 season goals, breaking the old VVS record of 51 set in 1984.
Senior Ashley Palmer will lead the charge in the Lady Red Devils’ quest for their 11th sectional title after she finished the season with 17 goals and five assists. She also broke the 14-year school record of 45 goals set by Katy Dam for the most in a career at VVS with 51 scores.
Briana Rascoe will join Palmer on the VVS roster after recording 17 goals and seven assists, as well as Alexis Kavanaugh, who sports 15 goals and four assists. Megan Piazza is also a threat with seven goals and an assist on her record, along with Morgan Bernier, who has five goals and three assists. Jenna Dunne has four goals and nine assists, and Allie Sczcerba has put in five goals and made two assists.
In the net for the Lady Red Devils will be goalkeeper Ellen Depasquale, who has recorded 56 saves and allowed 17 goals in 17 games this season.
The two teams have split the two games they’ve battled in this year with Camden defeating VVS, 3-2, on the Lady Red Devils’ home field on Sept. 20, and VVS later edging the Lady Blue Devils, 3-2, on their home turf.