Eight wins, eight losses. The definition of mediocre.
At first glance, that was North Shore going into the Nassau Class C final against first-seeded Cold Spring Harbor. But appearances (and records) can be deceiving. And Wednesday night at Adelphi, the Vikings, led by Tess Korten, Carlee Janelli and goalie Alexis Greene, provided a whole new meaning to a so-so record forged in Nassau's power conference.
No, not mediocre. Try masterful. Try measured. Try winners -- 18-13 -- and three-time county champions.
"The whole season we grew as a team," said Carly Comitino, who was pivotal in a second-half surge. "We learned to work together and it just was a complete team effort. We've won three now and this one felt like a true team effort. Playing those hard teams all year prepared us for this."
The No. 2 Vikings came out blazing hot, scoring the first three (two by Korten) before allowing Katherine Rueger's goal with 17:45 to go in the first half.
Cold Spring Harbor (12-5) took its only lead of the game on Samantha DeBellis' free position pass to Holly Logan, who made it 6-5 on the point-blank attempt. DeBellis struck again, from a pass by Ashley Lynch, with 5:49 left. North Shore, facilitated over and over by Korten, clawed back and, even after Logan's equalizing tally off a lefty dodge, was able to take the lead on Meg Brennan's man-down, sidearm score with 1:02 left in the first half.
That turned out to be the back-breaker, as North Shore scored eight of the first nine goals of the second half - two of the biggest ones coming from Comitino. The attack's falling, sprawling score bounced by goalie Haley Crosson, while her weave through the middle of the crease was good for a 15-9 lead.
"I think we really started to use each other and saw each other," Comitino said. "In the second half, at least three people would touch the ball, and that's what helped us. That's what propelled us."
The teamwork (and Janelli, who scored two of her four in the second half) helped North Shore increase its lead by as many as eight with 7:57 to play. Meanwhile Greene, who made nine saves, kept the Seahawks offense off-kilter until an ultimately futile four-goal burst in the final seven minutes, 24 seconds.
"It was definitely exhausting, but . . . we weren't going to let anything get in our way," said Korten, who had five goals and three assists. "We knew we were a second-half team and we knew we had to go all out in the second half and not let up at all . . . There was definitely some oomph in us."
Nine wins, eight losses. Wednesday night, the definition of a champion.