Rachel Ramirez clanged her cage and crouched low, stick in hand and ready to pounce.
Time and time again Wednesday, the Lindenhurst goalie was an assailed target, but to the casual observer, she was the predator. Ramirez made 13 saves -- seven from that coiled position she uses on free-position attempts -- as the Bulldogs turned aside Floyd, 9-6, to remain undefeated in League I lacrosse.
"I bang the cage for positioning, to know that I'm in between the posts,'' Ramirez said. "And I crouch down because I'm very tall [about 5-10], and it allows me to get the low ones and pop up to get the high ones.''
Lindenhurst (4-0) took a 3-1 halftime lead on back-to-back opening goals by Trisha Serras and a Rachel Gumowski tally on a feed from Rebecca Conway with 38 seconds left. Although Floyd (1-3) drew to within two on Courtney Murphy's goal with 22:47 to play, Ramirez made two big saves in the next four minutes -- one off her leg on a free-position attempt and a point-blank stop on a shot a few feet in front of her -- to preserve the lead.
"Rachel always comes up big for us,'' coach Paul DiGiulio said. "She makes a lot of critical saves. She really did a good job for us with the free-position shots today, and I think that made a big difference.''
Cooper Sesselman's bending, overhand blast sneaked into the right corner for a 5-2 Lindenhurst advantage with 17:51 left. She scored again four minutes later and led the Bulldogs with three goals and one assist.
"We were definitely all working together on transition,'' Sesselman said. "We were really preparing ourselves for this game. We knew we had to win it and we definitely pumped each other up.''
The preparation had a lot to do with Murphy, Floyd's do-it-all midfielder and leading goal-scorer. The Stony Brook commit earned faceguard honors, drawing strong defense from Ashley Claud, but still put in three goals. More than anything, "we were trying to keep the ball out of her stick,'' Ramirez said.
The eager defense let to plenty of penalties, and plenty of chances for Ramirez to shine: bouncers, blasts and a falling stop and a scrambling reach on a ball behind her (that last one caused even the sideline to erupt in incredulous laughter).
"She's all over,'' Sesselman said. "You can really count on her. She's really amazing.''