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Girls Lacrosse State Tournament Preview

Manhasset defender Jacklyn D'Alleva

Manhasset defender Jacklyn D'Alleva (Credit: Joseph Sullivan)

It’s that time again. The buses are on their way now to Cortland for the girls lacrosse state tournament, and Long Island will be represented by West Islip, Manhasset and Cold Spring Harbor.

Follow me @StephenHaynes4. I’ll be providing updates throughout the games, along with photos, commentary, retweets of commentary, and stuff. If you don’t already follow me, you’re just doing Twitter wrong, and here’s your chance to correct that!

For the second straight year the Long Island teams are favored in their respective semifinals matchups and, at least on paper, there is the possibility for an A-B-C sweep. But, as we know, the only game decided on paper is Tic-tac-toe.  

Manhasset is making its second straight appearance in the state tournament. The Indians were upset by Brighton in the semifinals last year. Cold Spring Harbor won its first L.I. title since 1993 and is seeking its first state championship. And for West Islip, it’s all uncharted territory. The Lions won their first county title last week.

Here’s a breakdown of the semifinals.

Class A

West Islip Lions (20-0) vs. Suffern Mounties (16-3) 

Time: 2:30 p.m. Friday at SUNY Cortland

The winner faces West Genesee or Mendon-Sutherland in the final at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

West Islip won its first Suffolk championship and went on to beat Farmingdale, 12-8, in the L.I. championship last Sunday. The Lions do have some underclassmen in key roles, but the team has 10 seniors and solid leadership, and the stage has yet to affect them in a tangible way.

West Islip’s strength is its depth and athleticism. They’re led by midfielder Lindsay Darrell, who has 75 points (45 goals), in addition to being solid on defense and draw controls. But the Lions have several other scorers capable of exploding, including Riley Hill, Vanessa Costantino, Emily Piciullo and Grace Davidson. Lena Riportella starred in the L.I. championship with a career-high five goals. They also have a strong defense with good height and range, led by Kaitlyn Viviano, Caitlin Cosentino, Courtney Salatto and goalie Shannon McFadden. West Islip is ranked 21st in the country, and second among New York’s Class A teams, behind West Genesee.

Suffern is ranked 74th in the country and lost to both its L.I. opponents in the regular season, falling to Garden City, 12-10, and St. Anthony’s, 7-6. But they can’t be overlooked. Garden City and St. Anthony’s needed second-half rallies to beat them, and Suffern did beat Darien (CT), which beat Garden City. UPenn-bound Mikaila Cheeseman is a talented goalie and West Islip will have to contain Caitlin Leary and Dana Gisonna on offense.

Class B

Manhasset Indians (17-2) vs. Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Spartans (14-5) 

Time: 9:30 a.m. Friday at SUNY Cortland

The winner faces CBA-Syracuse or Victor in the final at 9:30 a.m. Saturday.

Manhasset beat Sayville, 16-6, to win a second straight Long Island title and the Indians are in the very position they were a year ago: coming off a dominant playoff run and tabbed as a lock for the state championship. The difference is last year’s failure, perhaps, makes them better prepared for this tournament. They were stunned by Brighton, 9-8, in the semifinals and the players have attributed that loss to jitters – overwhelmed at first by the stage – and a bit of “hero ball,” with individuals trying to do too much on their own. The team’s motto this year has been “All for One,” and they insist last year’s mistakes won’t be repeated.

The Indians have withstood a rash of serious injuries to key players, but still have a stacked roster. All-Americans Julia Glynn (78 points) and Lindsey Ronbeck (71 points, 62 goals) lead the offense, along with Kathryn Hallet (39 points). Midfielder Emily Koufakis, in football terms, is the “joker” – a do-it-all, protean playmaker whose role adjusts depending on the situation. Erin Coleman has been solid in goal with 118 saves, and Jacklyn D’Alleva, Riley Garcia and Abby Kucharczyk anchor a defense that has allowed only 6.6 goals per game.

Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake is a team on the rise with good talent on offense. They have steadily improved since going 5-12 in 2010, though they haven’t played many non-league games or faced a Long Island opponent. Where is Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School, you might wonder? It’s in Ballston. Where is that, you might also wonder? It’s a small town about 25 miles north of Albany. The Spartans are led by attack Nicole Beardsley, an All-American committed to Northwestern.

Class C

Cold Spring Harbor Seahawks (13-5) vs. Bronxville Broncos (12-7-2) 

Time: 12 p.m. Friday at SUNY Cortland

The winner faces Honeoye Falls-Lima or Skaneateles in the final at noon on Saturday.

Cold Spring Harbor exorcised some postseason demons of the recent past, breaking through to win its first Nassau title since 1993. They went on beat Bayport-Blue Point, 13-12, in double overtime to capture the L.I. championship.
The Seahawks are a relatively young team with only four seniors, but its core of juniors and sophomores has been together on varsity for a few years.

Cold Spring Harbor’s strength is its speed, height and depth. Midfielder Holly Logan left the LI championship with an injured left wrist, but sophomore attack Samantha DeBellis delivered a career-high seven goals, freshman Kate Kotowski scored the winner in overtime, and Brooke Jensen excelled on draw controls. Ashley Lynch (87 points) and Tara Atkinson have been had explosive games in the playoffs, and Caroline Kiernan, Lindsey Willcocks and Kate Hudson have made big plays defensively. Haley Crosson (104 saves) came up with a big stop on a free position shot with 1:16 left in overtime against BBP.

A key factor could be Logan's wrist and her effectiveness. She will be wearing a cast to protect a slight fracture, but the junior expects to play on Friday.

Bronxville is having its best season, winning the program’s first sectional championship and going on to beat Albany Academy, 14-4, to reach the state tournament. The Broncos haven’t faced a Long Island opponent, or any team ranked in the top 150 nationally (Cold Spring Harbor is ranked 75th). But as history has shown us repeatedly, that doesn’t a whole lot on game day. Look for Kiernan, a 5’11” basketball standout, to match up with Bronxville’s 6’0” attack Gretchen Richter.

Tags: West Islip , Manhasset , Cold Spring Harbor , Lindsay Darrell , Riley Hill , Vanessa Costantino , Lena Riportella , Samantha DeBellis , Holly Logan , Brooke Jensen , Tara Atkinson , Ashley Lynch , Kate Kotowski , Caroline Kiernan , Emily Koufakis , Julia Glynn

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