PORT BYRON — The ball deflected out to Hannah Martens at the top of the circle, and the senior fired it into the bottom right corner of the net.

Martens scored the lone goal and the Panthers held the Warriors off the board over the final 23:01, as the Port Byron field hockey team topped Weedsport, 1-0, in Port Byron Tuesday.

For Panthers coach Mindy Gilbert, her team did a better job supporting each other and communicating in the second half.

"They had some really nice plays, they had some corners and good opportunities and it was the same on our end — just none of us capitalized in the first half," Gilbert said. "In the second half, we had a little more intensity, and they collectively wanted to come together and finish the game."

Port Byron senior Amanda Chuttey finished with three saves for the shutout, while Weedsport eighth-grader Mariah Quigley made eight saves.

Each of the Panthers and Warriors' last six meetings have been decided by one goal.

"When Weedsport and Port Byron play, it's always a close game," Weedsport coach Theresa Leonardi said. "You know it's going to be a battle right to the end. They're well-coached and a skilled team, and you know they aren't going away."

The Warriors stormed out of the gate, and earned three penalty corners in the opening 10 minutes. The momentum shifted back and forth throughout the first half, with both teams hemming their opponents in their own zone for stretches.

The teams went into halftime in a scoreless tie, but Martens got Port Byron on the board 6:59 into the second half.

A little less than three minutes later, the Panthers were awarded a penalty stroke after a foul prevented a goal. Alli Ryan shot toward the right side, but Quigley knocked the ball away.

"Usually a penalty stroke is huge for whatever team either stops it or scores. It's always a big swing," Leonardi said.

The Panthers limited the Warriors' scoring opportunities over the final 20 minutes and held on for the win.

"I felt like our girls played well and I think the Port Byron girls played well. I thought it was a good game, but unfortunately for us we couldn't score and they did," Leonardi said. "We had opportunities and we didn't take advantage of them. They took advantage of one of their opportunities and that was the difference."

Gilbert credited her team for keeping their foot on the gas even after the goal.

"I tell the kids to be relentless and keep playing until the clock goes," Gilbert said. "I'm proud of them all. They all contributed."

The teams won't have to wait long for a rematch. Port Byron (10-3-1) travels to Weedsport (7-7-1) Thursday in the regular season finale.

"It's tough to play your rival in twice in three days," Gilbert said. "We're going to work on some things that we need to improve on, and get ready for Thursday and the postseason."

Sports writer Jeremy Houghtaling can be reached at 315-282-2256 or at jeremy.houghtaling@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @CitizenHough.

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