Pewarski's title in lacrosse makes up for field hockey
It was overtime. State semifinals. Tied at 2. Garden City had flooded the circle and a goal seemed imminent. But Lakeland's Bridget McGovern gained possession and sent a deep pass toward the sideline, chased down by Shannon Scavelli at midfield. It looked as if she'd have a breakaway, but Mariah Pewarski hustled - galloped three quarters of the field to meet her about 20 yards in front of the goal and make a stand. Scavelli worked around her, got positioned, and launched the game-winner.
That was field hockey last November. That, the senior said, was replayed several times in her head during the sullen bus ride, and then four more times at home on MSG Varsity.
"I threw down a block tackle," said Pewarski, the moment DVR'd in her mind. "It's a risky move and I was trying to drive her to the sideline . . . But I threw it down too early."
Not the loss, the sequence or that goal were her fault. In fact, tenacity is what got her in position to attempt to make a play. But her seeing it the way she does tells you a little about Pewarski. And her resume brings out the hyphens. She's a Harvard-bound two-sport star, a two-time first-team All-American and, now, a six-time state champion.
"She and I were roommates upstate this year," lacrosse teammate Shannon DeFliese said. "She was talking about it, how she blamed herself for that loss. She wanted to make up for it and win states for the field hockey girls."
Pewarski's a bit of a perfectionist and this season, perfection is what they got. The Lady Trojans, motivated by four losses last year, steamrolled the season and captured a fifth consecutive state title - Pewarski's fourth in lacrosse.
"She's very smart and versatile," said Diane Chapman, who coaches both teams. Pewarski led Nassau in points as a field hockey midfielder, but transitions to defense for lacrosse. "She let what happened motivate her and, I'll tell you, not many opponents got by her on defense."
The team is still on cloud nine, a high, Chapman said, that'll take a long time to come down from. When the girls see each other in school, they shout "Dynasty!" Shannon Mangini said.
"It's so obnoxious," DeFliese said with a giggle, "but it's great. How many people get a chance to do that?"
For Mangini and DeFliese - co-captains with Pewarski - lacrosse season was their redemption, too. Both play soccer and their season, well, didn't go as hoped. "Everybody who played soccer looked forward to lacrosse," Mangini said. Added DeFliese: "It's a different feeling, every day hoping to get a win, then in lacrosse, having the confidence to know we will."
Pewarski said the euphoria hasn't completely rinsed her mouth of the bad taste from last fall - she's that competitive - but after helping lead Garden City to a 20-10 rout of Fox Lane, there's now a pleasant scene to loop. The one after the final buzzer of her high school career sounded.
"Running toward my goalie, Kelly Weiss, and the whole team collapsing on us," she said with joy in her voice. "Just seeing how happy everyone was and my own satisfaction. That feeling, I know I'll remember forever."