Lauren Daly could, perhaps, have been a good offensive player at the varsity level. Her teammates insist the Shoreham-Wading River lacrosse goaltender would have been.
That belief is largely based on a 10-minute sample size last week, when Daly moonlit as an attacker after being subbed out during a lopsided victory. The senior removed her helmet and pads, borrowed a teammate's lacrosse stick and went on to dish an assist.
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Wait! Don't get excited just yet, opposing offenses. That was a one-time cameo for the star goalie.
Daly was back to doing what she does best Monday: putting a lock on the cage. She made six of her 12 saves on free-position shots as Shoreham-Wading River topped Miller Place, 7-3, in Suffolk Division II.
"She's a rock!" SWR coach Rachel Feirstein said of Daly, who is headed to Boston College. "She impresses me with something every day."
Added Sophia Triandafils: "Lauren is a natural and she looked really good out there. She's a stud!"
She meant as a goalie . . . Although that comment could possibly also apply to Daly's offensive showcase last Wednesday.
Triandafils had three goals and an assist and Isabella Cortes scored twice for the Wildcats (6-4). Samantha Higgins added a goal and an assist.
Daly reached, crouched and lunged to stop shots. Against her, those free positions, apparently, come at a cost to the offense.
"I actually like free positions," Daly said. Which is unusual, coming from a goalie. "When I can, I watch tape on offensive players and try to pick up on their tendencies and shots. On free positions, I feel like I'm prepared."
Likewise, the Wildcats' defense was ready for Miller Place. The Panthers won eight draw controls and had possession for most of the contest but were unable to do much with it. Mani Cortes, the backer, orchestrated SWR's zone defense, which seldom allowed penetration or open shots (sans the free-position attempts, of course).
"They had the ball a lot, so we had to contain them and try to make some plays defensively," Erin Blomberg said. She, Sophia Triandafils and Erin Triandafils each forced two turnovers. "Miller Place is a rival, so we took that excitement and aggression and channeled it into the defense."
Sophia Triandafils scored on a bouncer from 6 yards to put the Wildcats on the board 1:48 in and they never trailed. Monica Cortes (two goals) pulled Miller Place within 2-1 with 12:40 left in the first half, but Sophia Triandafils answered. The sophomore helped stake SWR to a 5-1 lead at halftime.
Her sister Erin, a freshman, made her impact on the defensive end, applying pressure to ballcarriers atop the arc. "I was just trying to be aggressive and time my checks just right," said Erin, who committed to Penn State two months after Sophia did.
Emma Jacobsen made six saves for Miller Place (3-7).
Daly grew up playing offense and did double duty on junior varsity, splitting games at attack and goalie. But upon being promoted to varsity as an eighth-grader, she had to stick with one position. Scorer or stopper?
"I was a little better at goalie and I liked it more," said Daly, who led SWR to a state Class C championship as a freshman. "I don't regret the decision at all."
Yeah. The "what if?" scenarios can be left to opposing offenses.