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Girls Lacrosse State Tournamnet Preview
A similar - though condensed - version of this will run in tomorrow's paper, but for the folks who are here in Cortland now or on the way and won't get the paper, you can get a preview of the preview now.
NOTE: Laura and I will be covering all the games and providing updates, stats, pictures and commentary during each. If you can't make it to Cortland - heck, even if you're there - follow us on Twitter. @StephenHaynes4 and @AlbaneseLaura. Feel free to ask questions and share your thoughts throughout.
Class A: Farmingdale (14-3) vs. Penfield (15-5)
Friday, 9:30 a.m.
If they advance: They’ll face Suffern or Baldwinsville in the final at 9:30 a.m. Saturday.
Farmingdale is making its first appearance in the tournament since 2010, when it won a second consecutive state title. This isn't the same kind of star-studded roster the Dalers boasted back then, but it hasn't mattered. This is a scrappy group that, during the playoffs, has shown the ability to thrive late in games and execute at crucial moments. They proved that in close wins over Massapequa and Bay Shore.
Farmingdale’s offense is led by do-it-all midfielder Nadine Hadnagy and Amanda Turturro, an agile attack. Courtney McPartland, Samantha Brescia and goalie Olivia Kirk anchor a solid defense. Attacks Tara Wahl and Brenna Weill have emerged down the stretch, as well as midfielder Emily Marlow.
Penfield features Northwestern-bound midfielder Sheila Nesselbush. The teams met last year in the regular season -- with Penfield making the trip down from the Rochester area -- and Farmingdale won, 17-4.
Class B: Manhasset (16-3) vs. Brighton (17-3)
If they advance: They'll face John Jay-Cross River or Syracuse-CBA in the final at noon, Saturday.
Good news for upstate teams in this bracket: It's not Garden City. The bad news: It's the team that beat the Trojans.
Manhasset earned its first trip to the state tournament since 2005 by dethroning seven-time defending state champ Garden City for the Nassau title, then beating Eastport-South Manor for the L.I. championship. The fifth-ranked Indians are a balanced group without any glaring weaknesses.
They’re led by versatile midfielders Julia Glynn and Natalie Stefan, and Emily Markham anchors a disciplined and opportunistic defense. Sarah Barcia, Lindsey Ronbeck and Sarah Phillips give them a potent attack, and midfielder/defender Maddy Molinari has been an ace on the draw controls.
Brighton is led by Meaghan Bowen and Lauren Smolensky and utilizes a backer zone defense. The Barons were state runners-up in 2011.
Class C: Mount Sinai (18-0) vs. Honeoye Falls-Lima (15-5)
Friday, 2:30 p.m.
If they advance: They’ll face Putnam Valley or Skaneateles in the final at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.
Mount Sinai has been nothing short of dominant, having outscored opponents by 132 and earning the No. 14 ranking in the country. Midfielder Caroline Fitzgerald is a force on both ends and Sydney Pirreca, with her exceptional speed, has emerged as a star. Sister Shayna Pirreca is a talented attack, while Alex Flobeck and Marissa Colacino key a defense that's allowed only 6.1 goals per game.
Goalie Julia Michaels dazzled in the 2011 state tournament, as a freshman, leading the Mustangs to the final. Mt. Sinai lost to CBA-Syracuse, 9-8, in that title game, but there was obvious optimism then, given that a bulk of the team's core was still in eighth and ninth grade. That run two years ago offered a glimpse into this team's potential and its return to the state tournament comes as little surprise.
Honeoye Falls-Lima narrowly lost to Shoreham-Wading River - 11-9 - in last year’s final, and has improved since. The Cougars, led by attack Cari Stankaitis, held up against a challenging schedule (including teams now competing in the "A" and "B" semifinals) and beat Amherst, 21-0, in their regional final.