Cold Spring Harbor breaks through to claim first title since 1993

Cold Spring Harbor teammates celebrate after their 13-9 Cold Spring Harbor teammates celebrate after their 13-9 win over Oyster Bay in the Nassau County varsity girls lacrosse Class C final at Adelphi University on May 28, 2014. Photo Credit: James Escher

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Finally!

The dogpile formed by the players after rushing the field. The water cooler that was dumped on coach Danielle Skakandi. The screams and laughter of a delirious group as it was presented the championship plaque.

And a big sigh of relief: Finally! "This," Sam DeBellis said, "is what we've been waiting for."

After years of postseason heartbreak, Cold Spring Harbor captured the Nassau Class C girls lacrosse title Wednesday night, beating Oyster Bay, 13-9, at Adelphi.

Holly Logan, Ashley Lynch and DeBellis each scored three goals and Tara Atkinson had two goals and three assists to lead the top-seeded Seahawks, who won the program's first championship since 1993.

"It's been a long time coming," said Skakandi, in her eighth season as coach. "I knew this team was always capable of this, but we finally got it done."

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The Seahawks have been the No. 1 seed entering the playoffs each of the last four years, but the previous three ended in crushing upsets -- the last two in the county final. "The bus ride last year was dead silent," DeBellis said. "We were so sad and angry . . . We remember that. Not a day goes by that it doesn't cross my mind."

It was their quiet motivation. When the Seahawks dominated the semifinal last week, the celebration was subdued and they readily reminded all that they were still "on a mission."

It reflected in their play. Caroline Kiernan won nine draws and Cold Spring Harbor cashed in. Atkinson's goal put them up 9-2 in the first half. But No. 2 Oyster Bay rallied and Michelle Yu's goal pulled them within 10-7 with 16:06 remaining.

And that, naturally, conjured some bad memories. In the 2012 final, the Seahawks blew a seven-goal lead to rival North Shore. "We got a little nervous," Atkinson said, "but we understand that a very good team goes on a run at some point. We had to keep our composure."

And answer. Kate Kotowski scored off a feed from DeBellis with 14:57 left, and Logan and Brooke Jensen pushed the lead to 13-7. The Seahawks (12-5) advance to the L.I. championship on Sunday, 7 p.m. at Dowling.

Michelle and Vanessa Yu each scored three goals for Oyster Bay (11-6), which reached the final in only its second year as a varsity program. But the night belonged to the Seahawks.

"All these years we've worked for this," Logan said. "There's gonna be music, dancing and candy on this bus ride. Now we can celebrate."

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