Calling the Kingston High School varsity field hockey team a “Team of Destiny” would perilously ignore the hard work and dedication the players and head coach Deb Eaton have put into this near-perfect season. But the Tigers’ return to the state final four this weekend for the first time in five years certainly can’t come as a surprise, either.
Including last Saturday’s 1-0 win in the regionals against Class A opponent Marathon, the Tigers have taken the field 17 times, winning 16 and finishing in a tie just once. No one has figured out how to beat Kingston, and if they continue playing as they’re capable it could be two more wins and a state championship.
The first test comes against Sachem East in the state semifinals at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 16 at Cicero-North Syracuse. The Tigers last reached the semifinals in 2008, when they lost 3-2 in double overtime to Williamsville North.
Though the Tigers officially scored just once against Marathon, in a match at the Hudson Valley Sportsdome in Milton, a controversial interference call took away a later insurance goal that was ultimately not needed. As a result, Caroline Crump’s score with just 48 seconds left in the first half was all they needed to move forward.
Both teams’ goalkeepers turned away three shots in the game, though it was Jessica Staley’s perfect effort alongside Kingston’s overall stingy defense which made the difference.
Senior Jordyn Beesmer said the team isn’t resting on its laurels just yet.
“There is always room for improvement,” she said. “To be realistic there probably wasn’t much we could improve on skill-wise, but there was room for improvement in many other areas. We conditioned this week to get in better shape, we worked on a lot of shooting and training our forwards how to react in certain situations, and overall just worked on better passing and movement.”
Beesmer said that she believes the team has the skills to win the title, and it’s only a matter of everyone coming together at the right time.
“I personally believe we could win a state title, but it takes an entire team to think that and perform,” Beesmer said. “I think many girls just want to get to states and are content with that, whereas I would like to leave high school with a field hockey state champ under my belt. A state title is the goal. We want to be the best and I believe we can beat any team out there if we play our game. As I said, this is my last year and I want it to be a memorable one.”
Claire Loughran, also a senior, said she also believes Kingston has what it takes to win two more.
“I am very hopeful that we can win the state title,” she said. “We have the skills, endurance and heart to win and hopefully that will show this Saturday night. After winning the regional final, we are only one step away from achieving our goal for many years now.”