Wantagh basks in midweek upset of Garden City

Wantagh's Stefanie Wenz sets up the play during

Wantagh's Stefanie Wenz sets up the play during a Nassau High School girls lacrosse game against Long Beach on April 22, 2014. (Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy)

Ryley Weber helped Adelphi capture its sixth women's lacrosse national championship last Sunday, so one would assume that was all the talk of her household last week.

But then her little sister, Shea, was part of a rarer feat.

"Winning a national title is the bigger deal," Shea said, "but beating Garden City is insane!"

That's because Wantagh hadn't done it since 2002, until Wednesday, when the third-seeded Warriors stunned No. 2 Garden City, 7-5, in a Nassau Class B semifinal -- coincidentally, at Adelphi. And with a score identical to Adelphi's against Lock Haven in the Division II women's final.

"Running on the field after the last horn and realizing what we'd accomplished," Shea said, "was one of the best feelings you can have."

She, along with Michelle Smith and Stefanie Wenz, led a defense that smothered the high-powered Trojans, and Grace Beshlian was masterful with 14 saves.

"Garden City deserves all the respect they get," Warriors coach Jaclyn Coyne said of the Trojans, who had won seven of the previous eight state titles. "But going in, I reminded the girls of the Super Bowl. Who didn't pick the Broncos to win? But look what Seattle did."

In both cases, defense and ball control prevailed.

Paige Craig and Kaitlyn Cerasi dominated the draws for Wantagh (12-4). The Warriors had lost to Garden City, 8-7, last month in the regular season. But this time . . .

"We came out with a lot of fire and confidence," Coyne said. "Every ground ball and big hustle play, Wantagh was there first. You could see that from the first whistle."

Craig's second goal, off a feed from Nikki Sliwak, gave them a 6-3 lead with 12 seconds left in the first half and Cerasi added a second-half goal. Sliwak had a goal and two assists and Brenna Connolly scored twice.

"[Ryley] was there and told me afterwards how much she wished she could've been a part of this win," Shea Weber said. Ryley, a college freshman, was on the Wantagh team that lost to Garden City in the 2012 Nassau championship.

The Warriors face another tall order in Wednesday's final: top-seeded Manhasset, ranked fifth in the country.

"Beating [Garden City] was a big boost to our confidence," Weber said. "We know Manhasset will be tough, but we'll be in game mode. We're ready."

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