Wantagh's Paula Schmidt gets between South Side defenders during a...

Wantagh's Paula Schmidt gets between South Side defenders during a 17-6 win. (April 9, 2010) Credit: Photo by Patrick E. McCarthy

It was pretty obvious during Friday's 17-6 Wantagh girls lacrosse victory over host South Side what Jackie Sileo and Paula Schmidt did this winter.

The pair controlled visiting Wantagh's offensive attack with a variety of no-look and alley-oop passes that underscored their roots as basketball players.

But make no mistake, these two are lacrosse players. Sileo had a career-high seven goals and five assists for 12 points, also a career high. Schmidt had five goals and five assists for a career-high 10 points. One assisted the other seven times.

"We have good chemistry," Sileo said. "Playing basketball definitely helps. We got used to playing with each other."

South Side grabbed the lead less than a minute in when Jackie Cifarelli scored the first of her three goals off an assist from Kara Stanley. Schmidt hit Sileo with a nice pass for the equalizer a minute later. Wantagh's Colleen Lovett (two goals) and South Side's Sam Morin each scored to tie it at 2.

Sileo, true to her point guard roots, then assisted on the first two of three straight goals by Schmidt. Schmidt returned the favor a minute later, hitting Sileo with a nice pass to increase Wantagh's lead to 6-2.

Said Schmidt: "We just had a really good connection."

Stanley answered with two straight goals for South Side to make it 6-4 with 9:10 remaining in the first half, but Wantagh closed out the half with four goals in the final five minutes. First, Schmidt scored off a Sileo assist, then Sileo scored two, the first off an assist from Alyssa Polo. Kayleigh Craig upped the lead to 10-4, scoring with 25 seconds remaining.

Though Wantagh's attackers made their well-orchestrated goals look spontaneous, the success was due to careful planning.

The Warriors spent much of practice this week with the left side of the cage blocked, in order to prepare for Kelsey Gregerson, South Side's talented lefthanded goalie. "We practiced it for two days straight," Schmidt said.

The practice paid off. Gregerson earned every one of her nine saves, but Wantagh's creative attack was often too tough to stop. The Warriors finished with 13 assists.

"It's definitely an adjustment," Sileo said. "It's not every day you see a lefty goalie."

Wantagh (4-1) has reached five straight county finals, falling to Garden City each time, but the Warriors never look ahead. There's always a team like South Side coming up from behind.

For now, South Side (1-4) is in Wantagh's rearview mirror, but the Cyclones could get another crack at Wantagh in the Class B playoffs.

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