After some early struggles Thursday afternoon, Sophie Alois and the Middle Country offense found their form, sparking a second-half surge that kept the Mad Dogs unbeaten.
Alois had five goals and four assists to lead visiting Middle Country to a 17-12 win over Commack in a Suffolk I girls lacrosse game. Kate Timarky added three goals and two assists and Jen Barry had three goals and an assist in the win.
“We were a little nervous in the first half and I think it showed,” said Alois, who had three goals and three assists in the second half. “Once we found our rhythm and found some confidence in our shots, we were able to finish and grab the lead.”
Middle Country (4-0) trailed 9-8 early in the second half before Alois scored the tying and go-ahead goals to start a 5-0 Middle Country run. Commack (2-3) tried to answer back but was denied on consecutive possessions by Mad Dogs goalie Liz Pomaro (five saves).
The hosts continued to apply pressure and cut the Middle Country lead to 13-11 after Katie Kelly (four goals, three assists) scored with 8:56 left, before Alois scored 16 seconds later to spark a 4-0 run that sealed the win.
Early on, it hardly looked like Middle Country would be in a position to build a comfortable second-half margin, as Commack’s athletic defense forced a series of turnovers to help it build a 7-4 lead. When the Mad Dogs were able to get shots off, they had to contend with Cat Deutsch, who made seven of her 10 saves in the first half.
“She’s really good up high, so you really have to try to move her,” Barry said of Deutsch. “And if you telegraph your shot down low, she’ll know where it’s going.”
Middle Country got back in the game with a 3-0 run to tie the score with 2:07 left in the first half, and after Commack’s Sam Pugh (three goals, one assist) scored with 41 seconds left, Alexa Cordingley’s goal 18 seconds later evened things again.
Amy Pasquale scored early in the second half to put Commack back in front, but Middle Country was able to control possession and finish efficiently in the second half, leading to its game-winning run.
“The key was possession,” Alois said. “We won the ball off the circle, pushed the fast break and limited our turnovers. We’re just getting started and we have a big set of games ahead of us, so it was good to get this one under our belt.”