There was no question about Red Hook winning the Section IX Class C girls lacrosse title — again.
Going into the championship against John S. Burke High School on May 29 at Dietz Stadium, the Raiders had compiled a record of 14-2 and were undefeated in sectional play. The team’s two losses came against non-sectional foes in Glens Falls and Albany Academy.
And best of all, they had pummeled Burke just two weeks earlier, 15-4.
Red Hook controlled the sectional game early, led by Caitlin Swanson, who netted three goals on the half on her way to an eight-goal game. Burke held on better than they did in their previous matchup, though, keeping things tight through the end of the first half, courtesy of a late-scoring run, to make it 7-5, Red Hook leading, going into the half.
Swanson scored again at 23:35 in the second half, and was followed by a Burke goal to keep Red’s lead at two goals, 8-6. And then the hammer dropped.
A Red Hook scoring spate on the bottom side of the half — led by Swanson, who flushed four of Red’s five last goals — put plenty of space between the Raiders and Burke.
With the 14-8 win, Red Hook left Dietz with its third straight Section IX Class C championship and an honest chance to snag a regional win in the next game.
The Lady Raiders faced Putnam Valley in the regional final on June 1, again at Dietz Stadium. It was a muggy night, and Red wasn’t crisp.
Early on, it was evident that Putnam Valley had more savvy than most of the teams Red Hook had played in 2013, beating the Raiders to scoring positions, swatting away would-be assists, and not shying away from flopping under heavy pressure. In the end, they beat Red Hook by a score of 10-4.
Without question, the brunt of the calls went to Putnam Valley, including several free-position goal attempts and a yellow card.
Red Hook head coach Yvonne Turchetti, however, did not blame the refs for the loss. “We didn’t execute well for a full 50 minutes,” Turchetti told The Observer, “And at the end of the day at this level, it’s all about execution. Putnam Valley executed better than we did. Officials are there to manage the game — there were calls that went our way and calls that did not go our way… You just have to keep playing through.”
The reffing calls brought out at least one positive: impassioned, furious yelling from the larger-than-normal Red Hook crowd, and a sense of intense in-game atmosphere that might have been the only thing missing from the Lady Raiders’ season.
Red scored their first goal at 18:48, on a shot from Swanson, assisted by Laura Hegstetter. Swanson scored all four of Red Hook’s goals, three of them unassisted. All of her goals came in the first half.
There was virtually no offense from either side in the second half. Putnam Valley’s Erin McCrudden netted a goal at 22:41, and the Tigers managed a buzzer-beating goal to cap the game, 10-4.
And so in three straight years of Section IX Class C championship wins, the Lady Raiders have yet to win a regional game.
Turchetti, however, is content with her team’s play. “I’m really proud of them,” she said. “You never know how a team is going to come together when you step out onto the field to start the season. They’re really great people. They work really hard, they work well together, and they love each other, and that shows on the field every day, in practice or at the game.”
The Lady Raiders finish the season with a 15-3 record, the best seasonal record in the program’s history.
“They left their mark on Red Hook lacrosse,” Turchetti noted.