The 2024 Newsday All-Long Island girls lacrosse team. Front row,...

The 2024 Newsday All-Long Island girls lacrosse team. Front row, from left: Megan Kenny of St. Anthony’s, Olivia Comerford of Ward Melville, Amelia Bentley of Cold Spring Harbor, Mabel Overbeck of Garden City, Tess Calabria of St. Anthony’s, Kyle Finnell of Garden City, Maya Soskin of Cold Spring Harbor and Sophia Buffardi of Sayville. Back row, from left: Cold Spring Harbor coach Danielle Castellane, Kayla Gilmore of Floyd, Ava Meyn of Bayport-Blue Point,  Lexi Zenk of St. Anthony’s, Reese King of Westhampton, Jenna Soto of Smithtown East, Charlotte Rathjen of South Side, Amanda Paci of St. Anthony’s, Alexa Spallina of Mount  Sinai and Coach Joe Nicolosi of West Islip.

 

 

  Credit: James Escher

Newsday Player of the Year: Tess Calabria, St. Anthony’s, A, Sr.

The first words out of the mouth of St. Anthony’s coach Darcy Messina upon hearing that Tess Calabria was named Newsday’s Player of the Year truly tell the story of the type of player Calabria is.

“The kid is one of one,” Messina proclaimed. “She is just absolutely stellar.”

The statistics and eye tests would certainly back that up. Calabria finished No. 2 on Long Island in total points (114) with 75 goals and 39 assists for the Friars in a 19-0 season to be named Newsday’s girls lacrosse Player of the Year.

Messina credited Calabria’s leadership and work ethic to becoming one of the top high school girls lacrosse players in America. And few games went by without Calabria making a play on the field that simply dropped the jaws of all in attendance.

“Her athleticism, her vision, her lacrosse IQ and also her athletic IQ has propelled her to a category of greatness,” Messina said. “And not only is she a highlight reel of talent as an individual player, it’s that she’s a complete team player.”

Tess Calabria of St. Anthony's.

Tess Calabria of St. Anthony's. Credit: Dawn McCormick

St. Anthony’s finished as the No. 1-ranked team in the country in multiple polls. And still with all the talent the Friars possessed on the field, Calabria was the player most often scouted against. The Friars played arguably the toughest schedule in the country and the North Carolina commit still dominated the box score. But the goals and assists won’t be what Messina remembers most.

“A lot of players are very talented and can certainly work with the skills of scoring beautiful goals, but it’s the uncanny things that Tess does to make her teammates better and the entire team better that is absolutely out of this world,” Messina said. “Certainly for me as a coach, she’s made me a better coach and our entire coaching staff better in a lot of ways. We are beyond grateful she had Friars across her uniforms for four years for this program with how special she is.”

Nassau Player of the Year: Kyle Finnell, Garden City, A, Jr.

Creating a game plan against Garden City was much easier said than done this season.

There was no question that trying to contain Kyle Finnell, a 6-foot attack committed to play at Northwestern, was priority No. 1 for any team playing the Trojans this spring. But due to her size, speed, athleticism and natural lacrosse instinct, it was a plan few teams could successfully implement.

Finnell had 60 goals and 20 assists, finishing as the No. 2 goal scorer in Nassau Conference I despite the constant additional defensive attention, to lead Garden City to the Nassau Class B championship and to be named Newsday’s Nassau Player of the Year.

Kyle Finnell of Garden City.

Kyle Finnell of Garden City. Credit: Dawn McCormick

“If you’re trying to stop us,” coach Dave Ettinger said, “task No. 1 is definitely trying to figure out what your plan is going to be to try to contain Kyle.”

Finnell grew up in a lacrosse family. Her father, Steve, is the coach of the Garden City boys lacrosse team. Her brother, Stevie, was a Newsday All-Long Island selection last year. They both had an immense impact on Finnell’s development into one of the top high school players in the nation.

“She’s been watching Garden City sports her entire life,” Ettinger said, “so I think growing up watching that and seeing it at such a young age, she just really has that fire to work to be great.”

FIRST TEAM

Amelia Bentley, Cold Spring Harbor, A, Sr.

The dynamic playmaker had 41 goals and 38 assists this season for the state Class D champions. She recorded three goals and three assists in a victory over Babylon in the Long Island Class D final. The Drexel commit also had three goals against St. Anthony’s and Sacred Heart, the two top teams in the CHSAA. She creates offense with her passing, as displayed with four assists against Garden City.

Sophia Buffardi, Sayville, M, Soph.

There’s no part of the game that Buffardi wasn’t instrumental for the Golden Flashes. She had 53 goals, eight assists, 108 draw controls, 30 ground balls and 18 caused turnovers for Sayville. Buffardi had eight goals during the state semifinals and final, including five goals in a 9-5 win over Rye in the state Class C championship game. She also had three goals and an assist in a 12-4 win over Wantagh in the Long Island Class C title game.

Olivia Comerford, Ward Melville, D, Sr.

She anchored a Ward Melville defense that played a key role in winning the program’s first county title since 2007. The UPenn commit averaged three ground balls and three caused turnovers per game and was constantly tasked with trying to contain the opposing team’s top offensive playmakers. Ward Melville held Northport to four goals in the Suffolk Class A final, in large part due to her defense.

Kayla Gilmore, Floyd, M, Sr.

Gilmore ranked second in Suffolk with 90 points (59 goals and 31 assists) despite being the constant focus of the opponent’s game plans. The three-sport athlete had 146 draw controls this year and set the program record for draw controls. She was a combination of one of the best offensive and defensive players on Long Island morphed into one and will take that skillset to Maryland next year.

Newsday's All-Long Island teams for the spring 2024 season came to Melville for a special photo shoot. NewsdayTV's Carissa Kellman reports. Credit: Anthony Florio

Megan Kenny, St. Anthony’s, M, Sr.

The Maryland commit had 33 goals, 12 assists and 40 draw controls for the undefeated CHSAA ‘AA’ champions. Her speed and athleticism made her a tough matchup on the offensive and defensive ends as she contributed to every facet of the game for the No. 1-ranked girls lacrosse team in the country.

Reese King, Westhampton, M, Jr.

King was one of the most dominant draw control winners on Long Island, recording 96 draw controls, which was a single-season program record, according to coach Mary Bergmann. King had 53 goals and 23 assists to go along with 36 ground balls and 27 caused turnovers.

Ava Meyn, Bayport-Blue Point, M, Jr.

She had 45 goals, 23 assists and 21 ground balls while being one of the most dominant draw players on Long Island. The Maryland commit had 87 draw controls in a 16-3 season, resulting in a Suffolk Class C championship game appearance.

Mabel Overbeck, Garden City, D, Sr.

Overbeck was the anchor on a defense that helped the Trojans win the Nassau Class B title in a 17-2 season in which it allowed double-digit goals only twice. The Duke commit never shied away from tough matchups against one of the toughest schedules in the country. She scored three goals, including one in the Nassau Class B final.

Amanda Paci, St. Anthony’s, D, Sr.

The Duke commit had 40 draw controls as well as being one of the top lockdown defenders in the country. She never shied away from challenging the opposing team’s top scorers and played an integral role in a defense that only allowed seven goals in three of 19 games despite playing one of the toughest schedules in the country.

Charlotte Rathjen, South Side, M, Jr.

She had 47 goals and 12 assists as well as being one of the most dominant players at the draw circle with 71 draw controls. The North Carolina commit also had 12 ground balls and 12 caused turnovers. South Side won more than 60% of the draw Rathjen took as she’s one of the most well-rounded players on LI.

Maya Soskin, Cold Spring Harbor, G, Jr.

The Florida commit had 157 saves while saving 52.5% of shots faced this season despite the Seahawks playing one of the toughest schedules in the nation. Soskin saved nine of 10 shots she faced in the Nassau Class D final. She had one of her best games against St. Anthony’s, the No. 1 team in the nation, with 13 saves on 21 shots for a .619 save percentage. She had a 55% save percentage in the state semifinals and championship game, culminating in a state Class D title for the Seahawks.

Jenna Soto, Smithtown East, A, Sr.

Soto led Long Island in goals (82) and points (122) as she scored at least five goals in nine of 18 games. The Northwestern commit faced constant faceguards and additional defensive attention but still had huge performances, including nine-goal games against Bay Shore and Sachem East.

Alexa Spallina, Mount Sinai, A, Jr.

The Syracuse commit always found a way to make the best play for her team, whether that was scoring herself or finding an open teammate. Spallina ranked second on Long Island in assists (47) and added 38 goals despite facing faceguards and consistent additional defensive pressure. She was the quarterback of the Mount Sinai offense and excelled in that role with one of the best lacrosse IQs in the country.

Lexi Zenk, St. Anthony’s, G, Sr.

Zenk was a brick wall in the cage for the Friars. She saved 62% of the shots faced this season, totaling 106 saves while surrendering just 3.9 goals per game. The North Carolina commit has incredible reflexes and the ability to anticipate where a shooter is setting up. Zenk faced many of the top scorers and best programs in the country and consistently frustrated them en route to an undefeated season for St. Anthony’s.

Nassau Coach of the Year: Danielle Castellane, Cold Spring Harbor

She guided CSH to the state Class D title, the program’s first since winning one in 2019 (C).

Suffolk Coach of the Year: Joe Nicolosi, West Islip

He guided West Islip to the Long Island Class B championship, highlighted by a 9-7 upset victory over Garden City, and West Islip had one of the youngest lineups among the Long Island county champions.

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