ROTTERDAM — Schuylerville had been waiting for this cheer.
The Black Horses huddled up around Erin Lloyd. Can we do it now, someone asked. Not yet, the coach told her team. They stuck with their usual thank-you sportsmanship cheer and went to shake hands with Catholic Central.
Now? Someone else asked when they gathered again. This time Lloyd said OK and took a step out of the circle.
“What are we?” someone yelled.
“Champions!” the rest answered.
The Black Horses had been waiting for that cheer and they earned it with a 13-4 win over Catholic Central in Wednesday’s Class D final of the Section II Girls Lacrosse Tournament.
Back in field hockey season, Lloyd showed a video about what it takes to play like a champion. The team adopted that idea, and the eight players who play on both teams carried it into lacrosse season.
“Our coach is big on the mindset of the champion,” Amy Moreau said. “We’ve been hearing that all season: if we want to be a champion, we have to think like a champion, practice like a champion, act like a champion. So actually being a champion, it felt really great to yell.”
If anyone actually kept a calendar, this would have been the date circled.
Schuylerville made it to its first sectional final last year, but lost to Scotia. Those maroon finalist patches mocked the Black Horses for a year. They wanted the white one.
“The white patch has been on our minds since day one,” said Moreau, who scored four goals.
The core group of Horses returned this year, particularly at midfield, so redemption was a constant theme.
Speedy and high-scoring Schuylerville (16-2) didn’t have many close games this year. But the Horses found things to focus on. Even if they scored more goals, they wanted the first and last goal — to start and finish well.
“We tried to improve our passing game,” Morgan Gunter said. “We treated every game with the same tempo, no matter the opponent. That helped a lot once we got to this level.”
Lloyd is not one to allow her to team to settle or relax. Moreau scored the first goal of the game and, after saying good job, Lloyd yelled to keep the tempo up. When the Crusaders (10-4) called timeout, down 4-1 11 minutes in, Lloyd reminded her team what they missed on that one goal allowed.
The Black Horses were not going to get complacent.
“She definitely makes sure we’re the best we can be all the time,” Gunter said.
The Schuylerville offense has been putting up big numbers all season, but Lloyd was more impressed with the defense on Wednesday.
“I think the big differential was our defense,” she said. “The bigger exclamation point was holding them to four goals. They really did their job on defense.”
Alexa Goldenburg has been dealing with a shoulder injury and was all taped up on Wednesday, but she told Lloyd she wanted to play in what could be her final game, as a senior. She made an impact.
“She’s one of those kids who just gives it her all,” Lloyd said. “She did, she came up huge. Even in the last couple of minutes, she came up with a big interception. That was massive.”
Now that Schuylerville has achieved its goal, the Black Horses are onto new territory — though only figuratively, as the regional game is at Burnt Hills on Tuesday against Millbrook of Section IX.
“It’s a brand new ballgame seeing someone out of the section, which will be a good experience,” Lloyd said.
Class D Final
Catholic Central 3 1 — 4
Schuylerville 8 5 — 13
Catholic Central: Kelly Stanton 2-0, Hannah Field 1-0, Emma Field 1-0, Colleen McDonnell 0-2.
Schuylerville: Amy Moreau 4-0, Alison Burnham 2-2, Cassie Patrick 2-1, Claire Barton 2-0, Morgan Gunter 1-2, Grace Hanehan 1-0, Hailey Abruscato 1-0. Val Bowden 0-1.
Goalie-saves: Emily Carlow (CC) 7. Brooke Carpenter (S) 3.