Field hockey: John Jay holds off Huskers, 1-0

With only four games left in the regular season, the John Jay field hockey team was looking for a win on Saturday to improve its post-season prospects.

And thanks to a stingy defensive effort, the Indians got it, holding off Yorktown, 1-0, in their first game on the new John Jay Contest Field turf.

“I told them we needed to secure a win somewhere in the next two weeks in order to qualify for sectionals,” said Head Coach Heather Ausiello, whose team improved its record to 4-6-3.

The Indians started sluggishly, as the Huskers pressured the first five minutes, forcing goalie Hayley Martinsen to make two saves.

The Indians woke up and quickly pushed the ball the other way, resulting in a penalty-corner goal about eight minutes into the game by Sami Shapiro, after passes from Hannah Babcock, Rosie Ceisler and Tierney Spencer, who got the assist.

John Jay field hockey

John Jay players celebrates after Sami Shapiro scored the game’s only goal in the first half of Saturday’s win over Yorktown. Joining in the celebration are, from the left: Hailey Spencer, Shapiro, Tierney Spencer, Hannah Babcock and Jacque Manno. — J.B. Cozens photo

The rest of the half was back and forth, with John Jay nearly scoring again with three minutes left after back-to-back shots by Paige Lombardi and Tess Goldrick were stopped by Yorktown goalie Olivia Sanchez.

The Huskers had the edge most of the second half, with a 6-1 advantage in penalty corners. The Indians, however, were solid in the back third, behind defenders Lauren Spaziante, Lizzy Parry and Callie Horan.

Senior co-captains Tierney and Hailey Spencer seemed to be everywhere, breaking up dangerous plays and thwarting Yorktown’s attempts to advance. Hailey Spencer, in particular, did a great job helping shut down Yorktown’s most dangerous player, Catherine Calidonna.

“I asked Hailey to shut out number 11 on the Yorktown team, and when she does a job she does it 150%. She really got in the player’s head,” said Ausiello.

John Jay field hockey

Goalie Hayley Martinsen and defender Callie Horan team up to block a Yorktown attack during Saturday’s John Jay field hockey win. — J.B. Cozens photo

“They show up to play every game and that’s hard to find,” she said of the Spencer twins.

Martinsen came up with a couple of key plays in front of the goal in the final minutes, as well, to preserve the shutout.

“At halftime I said I wasn’t comfortable with a one-goal lead. We strive on defense and our defense has carried us through the last couple of games. We’ve aways struggled with scoring goals on offense and finishing. But our defense has really been phenomenal,” said the coach. “This team doesn’t give up.”

Yorktown, which dropped to 7-6 with the loss, had a 5-4 edge in shots on goal and 8-3 edge in corners.

John Jay field hockey

Lizzy Parry looks to control the ball during the John Jay field hockey team’s win over Yorktown on Saturday. — J.B. Cozens photo

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