GREENE – It has been seven years since the last time the Lady Trojans Field Hockey team was in a New York State Regional championship game.
For the last five years, the Whitney Point Eagles have represented Section IV at the New York State Championships and before their dynasty started, there wasn’t a team from the section at the final four – a rare occurrence in the field hockey world.
Drawing the Eagles in the first round of the Section IV Class C tournament this season, Greene immediately started off their playoff journey with a test. Meeting two times prior to the win-or-go home matchup, Whitney Point topped the Trojans in both games.
However, Greene head coach Christine Battaglini felt her team was a different group by the third meeting between the two Class C powerhouse programs.
“It was after the first 1-0 loss to Maine-Endwell, the game where they defeated us in the closing seconds that has really been our turning point for the season,” said the head coach. “It was after that game that I said to myself, ‘wow, that game really looked like we are starting to turn the corner.’”
Following the loss, the Trojans had a 4-6 record, falling below a .500 record in one of the few, if any, times Battaglini took over as head coach of the program.
But the head coach said she wasn’t really worried as it was like something clicked with her girls and they have been on a tear ever since, improving their record to 5-2 that includes wins over Whitney Point in the first round and Marathon – another Section IV dominant team.
In their playoff run, Greene has held their three opponents to one goal combined while the offense has reached a new level with 12 goals in the three games.
“We are starting to peak and come together at the right time,” said Battaglini. “As we are getting to these later games, it so nice to watch. It’s exciting as over the season, things have turned around and we have improved every game. At this point in the season, the little things like the girls trusting each other, having confidence, communicating – all of those thing really being to matter. It’s been a lot of fun.”
After dealing with a tough schedule in the regular season and coming away with a 6-8 record prior to the start of sectionals, Greene was what most sports stories see as the underdog character. However, the Trojans head coach, her staff and the players – though have discussed it – haven’t really believed they were ever the eighth-seeded cinderella story.
“We have played some tough teams all season long,” Battaglini said. “When you have a schedule like most teams do from Section IV, you could very well end up with a record like ours. But no team can ever be counted out of a sectional championship with the history and strong play that we have in this area. Section IV Field Hockey has a lot of history throughout the state.”
Battaglini is not wrong about that.
Since 1984, there have only been four years where a Section IV team has not been one of the two teams in the New York State Championship game. And in the 31 years a team from the section has play in the final game, they have returned home with a title 23 times.