Number of Participants: 15
Hours Donated: 4
Value of Time Served: $507
Event Type: Health & Medicine
Sport: Field Hockey
School: Saratoga Springs High School
Date: October 17, 2023
Saratoga Springs High School
Blue Streak Boulevard, Saratoga Springs
The Saratoga field hockey team celebrated their senior night on Monday evening, while also hosting their annual Pink Game, raising awareness for breast cancer.
The loss of former assistant coach, Beth Roberts, in the summer of 2021, still looms large for Saratoga, as well as Schuylerville – the school at which Roberts taught and coached lacrosse.
This year Saratoga coach Jo-Anne Hostig scheduled the Pink Game to be against Schuylerville.
“We purposely picked Schuylerville,” Hostig said. “We wanted to play each other because we both had a personal connection and some players have even more of a connection. There are so many people in our field hockey community that have unfortunately had to battle with cancer.”
The Blue Streaks picked up a 4-0 win over the Black Horses, including a very memorable goal from Saratoga senior Viviana Nicastro, who was playing for her mom.
“This game is the most important game for me throughout the season,” Nicastro said of the Pink Game. “I really wanted to make something happen to support the team and what we’re doing, since this is such a special day and how this has impacted my life.”
With over four minutes remaining in the first quarter, Nicastro scored the first goal of the game on a corner play, coming on an assist from Allie Shamberger. It was the senior’s first goal of her varsity career.
“It was perfect,” Hostig said. ” It was perfect that she scored the first one on this day. It put a smile on my face and a couple of tears in my eyes.”
“This group of players has been through so much and so has Schuylerville. We’ve been through a lot. We were trying to make it a happier day and it was just so perfect that she scored. It made perfect sense.”
“Although I had to wait for this moment, I think it made sense that it happened today,” Nicastro added. “It just felt like it was meant to be and that I did it today for a reason.”
The Blue Streaks took a 2-0 lead in the second quarter on a goal from Shamberger, which was assisted by Aubrey Ide.
“I think we had an amazing team effort and we were all channeling that energy we have towards the people we’ve lost and towards the win, as a team,” Nicastro said. “I’m really proud of everyone and I’m proud to be a part of something like this, to give back to help fight this disease.”
Saratoga scored a pair of goals in the third quarter, with Maddie Miller connecting with Alyssa Smullen, who finished off the goal in free play. Ide scored Saratoga’s fourth goal of the night, which was unassisted.
Before the game, the Blue Streaks honored their nine seniors: Emma Landers, Poppy Shishik, Aubrey Ide, Viviana Nicastro, Allison Shamberger, Sydney Cousineau, Hailey Kopraski, Olivia Allen and Nicole LaFarr.
Ide is committed to playing Division I field hockey at Lehigh University, while Shamberger will play Division III lacrosse at Roger Williams University and Landers will play Division III field hockey at SUNY Geneseo.
Saratoga now has an 8-1 overall record this season, with their only loss coming to Burnt Hills. The Blue Streaks will get another crack at the Spartans on Wednesday, at home, at 4:15 p.m.
In recent years, the Pink Game had been played against Shaker, before making the change to Schuylerville this season as a way to further honor Roberts.
“This is a way of bringing awareness to the disease, that you need to get yourselves checked and that it’s all around us,” Hostig said of the game. “Unfortunately, it could happen to any of us.”
“It touches everyone on our team, but everyone on their team too,” Nicastro added. ” We shared it, not just with our team, but also our opponent and I think that makes it really special.”