The Bishop Eustace field hockey team defeated Oak Knoll, 1-0, in overtime to win the New Jersey non-public state championship game.
Senior Drew Pecora scored the lone goal in the sudden-death overtime to give the Crusaders the victory in Bordentown. Pecora found herself in the middle of the circle, and after a couple of deflections through traffic, got her stick on the ball to put it in the back of the cage.
"I saw Erin out wide, so I knew she was going to dish it back to the top, so I tried to be in the best position I could be," Pecora said. "I was lucky."
This victory for coach Danielle Senior and the Crusaders was a huge deal, not only because it was the state championship, but because Oak Knoll has defeated them in this game the previous two seasons. They could not imagine what the feeling would be like to lose three consecutive years to the same team, so they made sure to stay composed and confident.
"We knew we had the skill, speed, and that we were dangerous," Senior said. It was all about what was between the ears. I knew these girls, watching them practice the last couple weeks, that they were ready.
"We showed that we had the resilience, determination, and work ethic to come back a third time and felt good enough that we could win it," Senior said.
Both teams were in control for stretches, and each side had good opportunities to score. Both goaltenders had strong games, and the defenses made timely plays.
Eustace came out in the overtime as the more aggressive team, and put pressure on Oak Knoll right away. After a couple of minutes, Pecora scored to end the game.
"I was in awe," Pecora said. "We worked so hard for this. This is what we have done since day one. This is what me and all the seniors worked hard, and for it to finally come true means the world."
Bishop Eustace 0 0 1 - 1
Oak Knoll 0 0 0 - 0
Goal: BE-Drew Pecora
Saves: BE-Brenna Miller 11, OK-Jordan McGinley 10