The Pierson/Bridgehampton Lady Whalers field hockey team has been on a mission all season, and the goal is now firmly within their grasp.
The locals survived two intense, hard fought games in the course of four days to move into the State Class C semifinals. Last Wednesday the Whalers got past a tough Carle Place team 3-2 to win the Long Island Class C championship.
That game proved to be just a prelude to Saturday's epic battle against Pawling, played at White Plains with the Southeast Regional title on the line.
It took two overtime periods, and still the two teams were stalemated, neither able to score. Then Pierson's All Everything senior Kasey Gilbride broke free, raced down the field, and fired a no-look cross pass to Katherine Matthers, who drilled it home to end the nail biter with 5:36 left in the second overtime.
It was familiar territory for Matthers, also a senior and candidate for the All Long Island all-star team. She tallied the game winner against Carle Place as well, scoring from the left corner past goalie Catie Dickinson. Gilbride tallied two goals in that fray, and assisted on the winning goal as well. A week earlier Pierson upended archrival Southampton to take the Suffolk County title.
The Whalers, now 14-4, will play Whitney Point (14-4) at 1:30 PM Saturday. The game will take place at the Cicero/North Syracuse High School field.
Barker (16-10) plays Cazenovia (15-4-1) in the other semifinal.
A Pierson versus Cazenovia final would provide the locals a chance for redemption. In 2010, when Matthers and Gilbride were freshman, the Whalers lost to that rival with the state title on the line -- in overtime, no less.
The championship game is slated for Sunday at 12:30 PM.