Five seconds, five defenders, and about a foot of open space.
You could say the odds were firmly against Kate Beier when she took a behind-the-cage pass from Riley Hill -- the number of defenders swarming her inverse to the seconds ticking off the clock.
"I was getting attacked, so I shot with all my might," the West Islip co-captain said. "I just shot. I saw a hole."
Beier looked for daylight; she got a little West Islip limelight instead. Her last-ditch, sidearm tally through a sliver of open air with 4.3 seconds remaining gave the host Lions a 17-16 win over their rivals Monday in Division I girls lacrosse.
"The whole time, we were cheering each other on, saying, 'We have to do this,' " said Hill, who had five goals and one assist.
The Lions (6-2) trailed by three before tying it at the break on goals from Emily Piciullo, Hill and Lindsay Darrell -- all in a 2:09 span. They went down again 12-10 on Nicole Levy's free-position goal with 16:59 left, but scored the next four, capped by Vanessa Costantino's tally (off a nifty inside spin move) to take the two-goal lead.
Costantino had 12 ground balls in the game, and Piciullo helped the Lions win 13 of 16 draw controls in the second half.
"I'm proud of them," West Islip coach Joe Nicolosi said. "They proved that we can play and that we can stick with any team."
Even one as stubborn as East Islip, which scored a man-down goal with 2:45 left, courtesy of Shannon Cummings' long drive to the cage, punctuated by an overhand blast, to draw the Redmen to within 16-15. Lauren Moccaldi's ground ball pickup with 53 seconds left set the stage for Elizabeth Vetter, who scored the game-tying bouncer.
Piciullo won that last draw control, though, feeding the ball to Hill downfield. "She saw me and she trusts me and she just passed me the ball," Beier said of Hill. She couldn't even see the goalie through the defenders, Beier said. Turns out, even that has its advantages.
"Let's be honest, I think we're going to overtime there," Nicolosi said. "[Beier] had this nice sidearm shot. I don't think the goalie even saw her."