CORTLAND — To say it was a long time coming for the Bayport-Blue Point girls lacrosse team may not do it justice.
The Phantoms defeated John Jay, 13-5, on Saturday to win the state Class C girls lacrosse championship at SUNY Cortland. It was the first state title in program history, but that’s not for a lack of talent.
“We’ve been working for years in the making,” senior midfielder Katie Clare said. “It’s not just this whole season. It’s been years, and we finally, finally did it.”
Bayport-Blue Point put an exclamation point on its 20-0 season. It’s actually the Phantoms’ second undefeated season in the last three years, but there were no state championships after their undefeated Long Island Class C championship campaign in 2021 due to shortened seasons with the COVID-19 pandemic. This team was determined to deliver history to the school and finish what the 2021 team started.
“We knew it from the start,” senior attack Haydin Eisfeld said. “We knew [we could] if we put every effort into winning and we had this goal coming in. Especially not being able to play in ninth grade [due to COVID-19], we had a goal of winning states forever and we finally did it. I couldn’t be more proud of my team.”
“This is a moment we’ve all been dreaming of since we were little,” said Mikaela Mooney, who had four goals and an assist. “The past few months have been rough, but to end in a perfect season is just everything every senior, every single person on this team has ever dreamed of. I couldn’t have asked for a better ending and to leave a legacy with the Phantoms.”
Clare had three goals, Ava Meyn had two goals and an assist and Eisfeld added a goal and two assists.
Bayport-Blue Point wasted little time on Saturday, taking a 5-1 lead midway through the first half. Mooney scored three goals in five-minute span.
“I don’t think she’s gotten the accolades or the attention that she's deserved, but she earned it this year,” coach Ryan Gick said of Mooney. “She’s been one of our best players, if not our best player, she has no fear out there. She dominates every facet of the game.”
Many of the players, and even Gick himself, found themselves fighting back tears after capturing the program’s first state championship. They knew they had state championship talent for years but whether it was other Long Island schools just a shade stronger or a global pandemic getting in the way, nothing was easy for the Phantoms.
“It’s just made it better, honestly,” Clare said. “Knowing that we’ve overcome the worst and we’ve made it to the best is just the most incredible thing in the entire world. I’m so proud of all of us. All of us did it together.”
Bayport-Blue Point led 8-1 at halftime and opened a 10-2 advantage with 14:27 left. John Jay finished its season at 19-3.
“We were firing on all cylinders today,” Gick said. “There was no stopping us. The kids were awesome on both sides of the ball. An exclamation point on this season, it really was.”
These last four years weren’t easy for any senior class on Long Island, especially Bayport-Blue Point. The players knew they had the talent to compete for titles every year, but there was no season in 2020 and no state championships in 2021. Then they lost a tough 8-6 Long Island Class C championship last season to Manhasset, who went on to win the state crown and dominate in Cortland.
“I think all the roadblocks that we faced helped us get to this moment,” senior defender Christine Dannenfelser said. “As painful as the heartbreak was the last few years, I think that it motivated us to get here so I’m grateful for what happened because we were finally the team that was able to do it.”
Bayport-Blue Point outscored its opponents 27-10 in the state semifinals and final.
“This is everything I’ve ever dreamed of,” Eisfleld said while fighting back tears. “Especially winning with the people I’ve started with since PAL, it’s unbelievable and amazing. I can’t even explain how amazing it feels.”
“In the beginning of the season, we said, ‘This is our year,’ and we knew we were going to do it,” senior defender Margaret Kennedy said. “At the beginning of the game, we told each other again, ‘This is our year.’ We put in so many hours. The fact that all that work has paid off is great.”
Gick also credited all the previous players for building up the program.
“I just think of the alumni and every kid that has accepted the challenge of making this a dream,” Gick said. “And I’m so proud of this group looking over at them. But this is for everyone that’s been part of this since Day One building this up. It’s just amazing.”