SCHUYLERVILLE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — As Saratoga Springs’ Jennifer Furze walked off the field at Schuylerville High School Wednesday night, she was overcome with emotion, and rightfully so. The first-year head coach had brought a sectional championship back to Saratoga.

“It means everything,” said Furze after the Blue Streaks’ 8-5 win over Shaker in the Sec. II, Class A girls lacrosse final. “I’m just so proud of them. They’ve had such an incredible season. They’re just such hard workers; the chemistry between them…they’re great kids. And it’s just been a fun season. We’ve had a lot of fun together.”

Wednesday’s victory marked the first section title for Saratoga since 2018, and was the culmination of a brilliant postseason run. The Blue Streaks entered the Class A tournament as the four-seed, and promptly knocked off fifth-seeded Guilderland in the opening round. After powering past top-seeded Shenendehowa in last Wednesday’s semifinal round, only one team remained in Saratoga’s path to the top of the class, and that was two-seeded Shaker, which ‘Toga managed to overcome with brilliant defensive play and a strong offensive showing from junior attack Carly Wise.

The Blue Streaks maintained a 4-2 edge heading into halftime, and promptly rattled off back-to-back goals to start the second half; one coming from Wise off an assist from Allie Shamberger, and the other from Emery Judge on a bounce shot after a solo run through the heart of the Shaker defense.

The Blue Bison did not go quietly, though. They managed to rattle off a quick, 2-0 run which was punctuated by a free-position goal from midfielder Kacie Pilla.

But from there, Saratoga ramped up the defensive intensity, holding Shaker scoreless until the final minutes of the game. By then the Blue Streaks had tallied two more goals to extend the margin back to four, one of which came courtesy of Wise off a caused turnover to complete her hat trick.

The playoff journey for Saratoga felt eerily similar to last season’s. The Blue Streaks, as a four-seed in 2022, won their opening round game before knocking off the one-seed in the semifinals. However, they fell in the championship to Shen, and Wise did not want to experience that feeling again.

“Every year we’ve come so close and weren’t exactly able to grasp it, so this is really special,” said Wise. “Last year we came to the sectional finals and lost, but we knew that wasn’t gonna happen this year. We upset the one-seed last week, and we were ready for it this year. It wasn’t gonna happen like last year.”

Saratoga now advances to the state tournament, and will await the Sec. I champion in the sub-regional round to be played Tuesday. That game will also be held at Schuylerville High School, and opening draw is slated for 7:30 p.m.