St. Anthony's Shanna Brady darts past West Islips Stefani Jackson...

St. Anthony's Shanna Brady darts past West Islips Stefani Jackson during the Friars victory. (April 3, 2010) Credit: Photo by Lee S. Weissman

Haley Bloom and Shanna Brady looked at each other and flashed wry smiles when asked about the significance of beating a top public school team.

Welcome to the big time, St. Anthony's.

"We don't get a lot of recognition," said Bloom, a senior who led the Friars with two goals and a career-high six assists in a 15-7 lacrosse win over defending Suffolk Class A finalist West Islip on the sunny St. Anthony's field Saturday morning. "People think our schedule isn't as strong, so we wanted to show what we could do against a good public team."

What they did was befuddle the Lions on both ends of the field, forcing 13 turnovers, winning 15 of 24 faceoffs and scoring 15 goals, the most a West Islip team has allowed in the last nine games dating to May 4, 2009.

St. Anthony's has won two straight Long Island CHSAA titles, but the Friars believe they are slighted because many outsiders perceive the Catholic League as being weaker than the public-school leagues. In an effort to shed that reputation, St. Anthony's coach Corinne Lomangino beefed up the schedule with teams such as West Islip, Rocky Point and defending Class A state champ Farmingdale. "This is a good first step," Lomangino said. "We just wanted to stick to the game plan."

The defensive game plan especially worked, as West Islip scored just two first-half goals and turned the ball over numerous times in the St. Anthony's zone. Tori Holland made 12 saves for the Friars, including two on free positions late in the first half. Said Brady: "[Our defense] really makes the other team frazzled."

Toniann Riportella's goal with 9:12 remaining in the first half pulled the Lions within one at 3-2, but Maggie Bill (three goals) scooped up the ground ball on the ensuing faceoff and dashed 40 yards unimpeded to the goal to make it 4-2. It was the first of four straight goals for the Friars.

St. Anthony's got a morale boost when Kerrin Mauer entered the game with 11:08 left in the first half. The midfielder, who was the MVP of the CHSAA tournament last season, broke her ankle and fractured her pelvis in a car crash on Jan. 21. She didn't score, but her teammates believe her return, even if she isn't 100 percent, can only make them stronger.

Said Brady: "We know how talented we are. Watch out. We're St. Anthony's and we're ready to play."