A 30-minute lightning delay preceded Thursday night’s Suffolk Class C girls lacrosse championship between No. 1 Mount Sinai and No. 2 Bayport-Blue Point, but it was Maggie Clark who brought the thunder.
After a Mount Sinai penalty, Clark converted an empty-net free position for her third goal of the night, representing the winning score in the Phantoms’ 7-6 win at Farmingdale State. It’s the program’s first championship since 2014, snapping a string of four consecutive titles by the Mustangs.
The Phantoms play Cold Spring Harbor at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Adelphi for the Long Island Class C championship.
“It’s very nerve-wracking, but I had to stay focused,” Clark said of the strange situation that positioned her on the eight-meter arc with her team ahead 6-5 late in the second half. “I tried to keep calm, and I didn’t want to make it more than it was.”
Down a goal with under three minutes remaining, Mount Sinai coach Al Bertolone pulled goalkeeper Emily Lamparter, allowing the Mustangs to utilize another field player on defense. But on a Bayport shot attempt at the open net, a Mount Sinai defender stepped in the crease and defended a shot, which is a violation in girls lacrosse. That put Clark on the eight-meter.
“They had her in the crease, and you can’t intentionally jump in front of a shot as a field player,” BBP coach Ryan Gick said.
Clark’s goal with 2:15 remaining gave BBP (15-2) enough of a cushion to withstand Gabby Sartori’s goal with 36.6 seconds left, which cut the lead to 7-6. Mount Sinai (15-3) won the ensuing draw control but was denied in the waning seconds as the BBP defense crashed the middle and prevented a look at the cage.
“It was a little wild,” Gick said. “It’s two teams that know each other extremely well.”
The first half couldn’t have been more even. The sides went goal-for-goal, with Sartori scoring the equalizer with 2:02 left before halftime. Each team used three goal-scorers in the first half, culminating in a 3-3 tie.
The game started in a downpour before a brief respite in the middle of the action, but it ended in the hardest precipitation of the night.
“It’s tough, but you just have to play through it,” Clark said. “Just embrace it. The weather kind of added a little spice to it.”