CORNING - Starting today, the No. 2 seeded Corning Hawks will embark on what hopes to be a successful return to the Section IV finals and a sectional title which has evaded them since 2017.
A quick look at the stats and players on Corning will tell you that this team is an offensive juggernaut and very deserving of its 12-4 record.
Four girls on the Hawks, Kenna Newman, Riley Davis, Ashlee Volpe and Riley Olmstead have 30+ goals and Logan Olmstead and Olivia Tanneberger have 22 goals. Corning also shares the ball, with 140 team assists in its 16 games.
“We have to be on our game and play our best,” Corning head coach Kevin Scanlon said. “We have to worry about ourselves and have everything that we’ve worked on all season show up in sectionals. Same night, for two halves starting Monday night.”
Corning’s first test will be Elmira at 7 p.m. today at Memorial stadium.
The Hawks defeated the Express by a combined score of 43-1 in two early regular season games.
Despite the disparity in the score in the first two matchups against Elmira, the Express are riding high off of earning a sectional bid for the first time in the school's eight-year girls lacrosse history.
“We played them back-to-back -- two games in a row -- and it was early season,” said Scanlon. “I guarantee they are a better team than when we’ve faced them the first time and I can guarantee our team is not taking the game lightly.”
Although the Hawks are a senior-laden team and have experience in a playoff format, key positions on the squad are occupied by underclassmen who will get their first taste of a win-or-go-home game in front of a home crowd. The experience could benefit them if Corning is fortunate enough to move on.
“Sectionals is totally different than regular season, so the comfort of playing on our own field will definitely give everyone -- especially our younger players -- confidence,” said senior midfielder Riley Olmstead.
If the Hawks are fortunate enough to get past Elmira, they will have to travel to Ithaca against a team they are 0-2 against in the regular season.
“[The girls] are ready,” said Scanlon. “We quickly turned our focus from Ithaca to Elmira once they qualified. That said, we are excited about the opportunity that the next one is the one that matters most.”
After losing to Ithaca 18-13 in the 2018 sectional finals, Corning is seeking some much needed revenge and a return as sectional champions.
“We definitely respect the game they have and the team they are,” said senior midfielder Logan Olmstead. “They are a really great opponent, but I think we’ve been pushing ourselves in practice and we’re definitely ready to bring the sectional title back and to beat them.”