Hey, freshman! St. Anthony's just lost a superstar to injury and you're being counted on to fill her shoes.

"I was absolutely nervous," Sabrina Cristodero admitted. "I had butterflies just hearing that I'm going to start and not knowing what I'd have to do."

Well, here's what you'll have to do: With the Friars' girls lacrosse team trailing late against Florida powerhouse Vero Beach, you will need to be a hero.

No big deal? Not quite. The freshman was the big deal. Cristodero scored the tying, momentum-seizing goal and St. Anthony's rallied to beat seventh-ranked Vero Beach, 11-9, Friday.

To the home crowd chants of "She's a freshman," Cristodero had two goals, with the second knotting it at 7 with 13:21 left. She slipped a defender on a crease roll and fired into the left corner.

Kasey Behr scored two of her three goals, including a go-ahead tally, in the final 4:52 for the Friars (3-0). "I remember my first time starting as a freshman and how I was shaking," said Behr, a senior All-American. "In a game this big, Sabrina showed poise . . . That was a huge moment for her."

It was even bigger for the Friars, who avenged their only loss last season. St. Anthony's finished ranked No. 2 in the country and likely would have earned the top spot had it not been for an early-season loss to Vero Beach. "This is absolutely glorious," said Izzy Mangan, who scored twice. "There's extra excitement for a win like this."

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Especially considering the Friars did it without Ella Bonafede, a Duke-bound midfielder who suffered a torn posterior cruciate ligament last week.

Mangan gave St. Anthony's an 8-7 lead with 8:29 to go, but Hannah Pridemore tied it two minutes later. Behr put the Friars ahead for good with an overhand blast from seven yards with 4:52 left.

Claire Quinn extended the lead to 10-8. Katie Pridemore's fifth goal pulled Vero Beach (15-2) within a goal with 3:06 remaining, but Behr won the ensuing draw and St. Anthony's drained the clock before Behr scored with 13 seconds left.

Taylor Mitchell and Quinn each scored twice and Charlotte Campbell made eight saves for St. Anthony's.

"I never thought it would play out like this," Cristodero said with a grin, "but this was awesome."

Vero Beach used an early second-half surge to take a 7-5 lead, but St. Anthony's had an answer: Hey, freshman!