The Northport girls lacrosse team dominated just about every team it played this spring, with the lone exception coming in an 11-5 loss to Smithtown East on April 6.
The common denominator in the Tigers’ wins was the presence of senior Olivia Carner, a speedy midfielder bound for Duke. She missed one game this season with an ankle injury. It was against Smithtown East.
“She makes that big of a difference,” coach Carol Rainson-Rose said. “She’s about the draws, she’s about the defense, she’s about the offense … everything. She’s our leader.”
Carner willed Northport to its first state Class A championship since 2011, notching five goals and one assist and causing a key turnover with 1:09 left in a 10-8 win over Baldwinsville in the state final. When Northport needed a big play, she was there to provide it.
“She can do it all,” Rainson-Rose said after the win. “She proved it to everyone today.”
“This is the highlight of my life,” Carner said. “The whole experience is amazing. I’m just thinking about the younger girls in our community who look up to us, and they should just be so excited to be part of it. It’s something special.”
The six-year varsity player had 62 goals and 37 assists this spring and surely would have eclipsed the 100-point mark if she was healthy against Smithtown East. Even though Northport’s state title came roughly two full months after the loss, it still resonated in the mind of defender Chloe Hoschel.
“We think about it all the time,” she said. “We all need each other.”
Hoschel acknowledged that the team could have played better in Carner’s stead, but her importance was not lost on the Tigers.
“We all have a part,” Hoschel said. “It’s the same thing if someone was missing on the sidelines. That’s how close our team is. Everyone means something. Everyone has a huge part.”
Three Tigers ranked in the top 40 in points in Suffolk. Danielle Pavinelli paced the county with 127 points, while Carner’s 99 ranked third and Kate McLam’s 65 ranked 37th. They were hardly the only threats.
Freshman Kaylie Mackiewicz elevated her play in big games, and Ella Cabrera was a playmaker in all areas. Defensively, Hoschel, Natalie Miller and others kept the pressure off six-year goalkeeper Claire Morris, who posted five straight games of double-digit saves in May.
The loaded roster delivered Rainson-Rose her second state championship, eighth Long Island championship and 12th county championship since she became the team’s head coach in 1990.
Keeping with Hoschel’s theme of praising the importance of everyone, Carner spoke glowingly of what Rainson-Rose has meant to her.
“Me and coach Rose, I can’t even describe the love I have for coach Rose,” Carner said. “We say that to all the girls. If you can’t do it for yourself, do it for someone else. And I did it for coach Rose.”
In doing it for her coach, Carner also did it for her teammates. Without her performance, Northport might not have been a state champion.
TIGERS’ ROAD TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP
vs. Commack, 15-5
vs. Ward Melville, 13-7
vs. Middle Country, 13-7
LONG ISLAND CHAMPIONSHIP
vs. Farmingdale, 15-4
vs. Pittsford, 13-3
vs. Baldwinsville, 10-8