You really can’t use any other word to describe the 3-game playoff run that the Lady Raiders Field Hockey team is on right now.
Two weeks ago they trailed Akron 2-0 at halftime; scored two unanswered goals and won in OT.
Two days ago they trailed Eden 1-0 at halftime; scored the equalizer and, with 20 seconds remaining, slammed home the goal that earned them the Section VI Class C Championship.
Earlier today, in their Class C Regional Championship Game, they trailed East Rochester ten minutes in by a two-goal margin.
“They were faster than we expected – we came to watch them play against Pitt Sutherland and we didn’t see the speed they played with today.”
That speed caught the Lady Raiders off guard, but thankfully Kaedynce Schumacher was able to stop the bleeding and get the first Lady Raider goal of the night with 7:23 remaining in the first half.
“We kind of all just got pumped up and believed that we could do it again and that we could come back. Sometimes we just need a little push and then when we set our minds to it, we do it,” said Schumacher regarding the feeling of the team after her goal.
Barker entered halftime with a 1-goal deficit but it didn’t last long into the second frame. Katrina Clare slammed home the equalizer five minutes in.
East Rochester didn’t waste any time in regaining the lead – they only needed 20 seconds to pull ahead again with a 3-2 lead; East Rochester’s Sam Lewis sprinted down the field for the quick answer.
Emotionally, nothing changed on the Barker end; they kept pushing forward. A few minutes later, it was Clare, again, who tied the game with her second goal of the evening.
“We usually can come back and then get ahead. It was tough that we gave up the go-ahead goal so quickly, but we were not ready to lose and have our season end. I was not ready to lose. No one on the team wanted to go home and have the season be over, ” said Clare. “I demand a lot of myself in those situations; to produce for my teammates.”
What ensued was a back-and-forth battle; both teams trading blows but somehow finding a way to outlast each other.
With five minutes to go, not a single person was sitting in the bleachers.
Then they went to overtime.
The offensive slugfest continued; just when it seemed somebody was gaining an upperhand the momentum would suddenly shift, both teams narrowly escaping the pressure.
That is, until the 1:30 mark in overtime, when Ciara Gregoire slipped the ball to an open Katrina Clare, who was parked right in front of the cage and promptly sealed the deal to punch Barker’s ticket to States.
“I have wanted to go to states since I saw my sister get there (in 2012 & 2013) and have wanted to get there myself since 8th grade,” continued Clare. “We have a lot in us; a lot of heart and we love each other. We may sometimes need a push from the other team to get us going, but it motivates us and gets the fire burning that we really want it more.”
That couldn’t have been any more evident when her goal triggered the Lady Raider bench to storm the field.
“This team has built such a confidence level in what they can do and they have learned how to win in all kinds of adverse situations,” said Barker Coach Jeff Costello. “It’s next player up each game and tonight Katrina Clare showed why she is one of the premier players from the N-O League and all of Section VI. She put this team into the state semifinals with a statement game!”
Barker will square off with Carle Place in the State Semifinals on Saturday, November 10th at 3pm. The game will be played at Williamsville North HS.