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Feb. 9, 2016 — The crucible

Indoor field hockey is a game like a hot fire, which burns off flux and chaff to reveal pure metal in the well of a crucible.

In the Junior Premier Indoor League finals last weekend, the classification rounds certainly brought out the best in the clubs that accepted their invitations.

In an absolute firecracker of a U-19 championship, Hudson Valley — a team with players from several schools stretching from the Tappan Zee Bridge to the foothills of the Adirondacks — beat the No. 1-seeded Xcalibur side 2-1 in a shootout after a 7-7 regulation draw.

There were many heroines for the gold-medalists, including Briana Muniz, who had both shootout goals for Hudson Valley, including the one in the fourth round (the first sudden-victory round) to provide the margin of victory. Muniz also had a pair of first-half goals.

But truth be told, Hudson Valley wouldn’t have gotten to the shootout without Dana Bozek, who scored the second of her two goals at the death to level the score at 7-7. Bozek had started a furious comeback on the part of Hudson Valley, scoring with five minutes to go to bring the score to within 7-5. Three minutes later, Elizabeth Ryan found the back of the goal to bring her side to within one.

XCalibur’s U-19 side was paced by Lexi Davidson’s hat trick.

But the club didn’t leave without other hardware, sweeping the U-14 and U-16 divisions. In the U-16s, it was eighth-grade phenom Sophia Gladieux having a hat trick for XCalibur’s 6-1 final win over Freedom, a team founded by former U.S. international Sarah Dawson.

And in the U-14s, XCalibur’s Jenna Kirby had four goals and Morgan Kaufmann had two in a 6-2 win over Jersey Intensity.

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