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Ward Melville girls lacrosse Class A Final preview: I was wrong
I was wrong.
I’ll say it again: I, Laura Albanese, being of sound mind and disposing memory and not acting under duress or undue influence, admit that I was wrong.
Some context: Earlier this week, while making my (so far, not-terrible!) predictions, I decided that Northport would pull the upset over third-seeded Ward Melville in a hotly contested Class A semifinal. And clearly, I was wrong. So, with respect to the girls who called me on it (there were a bunch of you…I wish I could give a proper shoutout to the one who made me write: "I was wrong" in my notebook), I admit it fully, in blog form.
But you know what that means, dont'cha? The Patriots are going to the Suffolk county final. And who better to meet them than seemingly perpetual rival Bay Shore?
Some background: One year ago, Bay Shore defeated the then-first-seeded Patriots, 11-5 in the county final. The Marauders took the Long Island title and came just short of a state championship. So with that in mind, I took the time to ask some of the Ward Melville girls how they plan to prepare for the second go-around.
(By the way, Ward Melville did beat Bay Shore earlier this year.)
Emily Rogers-Healion: “I don’t think [last year’s game] is going to be like that this final. We’re very evenly matched this time, and we were kind of intimidated last year. We were pretty young. We had only two seniors, and now we’re kind of veterans. We have 11 seniors. We know what it’s like to be there and we’re going to be more in control of the game and not as nervous.”
Kelsey Catalano: “It’s going to be a little revenge from last year. I know we beat them in-season, but we just have to make sure we play the game the way we played it today and just keep going.” <Big exhale>
Deryn Blaney: “I think we just focus on what we saw from them last year at counties because they are a completely different team when they come to counties, and we know they’re really good. We can’t underestimate them at all. We need to keep our play at where it is.”
And now that they’ve had their say, here’s mine. The most telling thing about Ward Melville came from the opposing bench on Wednesday. With a Northport player stationed behind the Patriot cage, the defense slid in front of two open girls before the play could ever materialize. The reaction from a coach: “Ugh. They’re So. Smart.” I saw that the first time I watched the Patriots this year, too – when they played an overly aggressive Bay Shore perfectly. The Marauders became their own worst enemy then, drawing one yellow after another and being forced to play the majority of the second half two girls down. Ward Melville, conservative and measured, mounted a major comeback.
There’s no telling whether that will work again. Bay Shore has too much talent and is too well-coached to make the same mistakes twice. The final will be a dogfight. Prediction? I got none.