CORTLAND, N.Y. -- Throughout Farmingdale today, "Bird" is the word.
"We've been waiting for her to do this all year. All year!" Dalers coach Shari Campbell said of sophomore Bridget Weill. "She does great in practice and we've been on our hands and knees praying she would carry it over to a game."
How about the state Class A girls lacrosse semifinals?
Weill, to the cheers of her nickname "Birdie," scored a career-high four goals as Farmingdale beat Penfield, 10-6, Friday at SUNY-Cortland.
The attack entered this game having scored four goals all season. Guess she picked the right time to spread her wings.
"I was just cutting," Weill said matter-of-factly. "I'd lose my defender, make a cut inside, and Nadine [Hadnagy] kept finding me, time after time."
Three times, to be exact. Hadnagy had three goals and four assists, three to Weill on curls and crease rolls.
"Bridget hadn't scored much before, so they probably didn't know she was a threat," Hadnagy said. "That was a big mistake."
The Dalers will face Baldwinsville at 9:30 a.m. Saturday. The teams played a non-league game in April that Farmingdale won, 16-5.
This semifinal also was a rematch of sorts. The Dalers trounced Penfield, 17-4, last year in the regular season.
Not so this time. Farmingdale led from midway through the first half, but Lindsay Gamer's goal pulled the Patriots within 7-6 with 11:57 left.
But the Dalers were, ahem, unflappable. Amanda Turturro scored the second of her two goals and Weill scored again. Hadnagy's goal with 5:16 left created the final margin.
"This is awesome, especially since a lot of people doubted us this year," Hadnagy said, alluding to Farmingdale's graduation of four All-Americans the previous two years.
The Dalers' run wasn't quite on a wing and a prayer, but this season was thought to be the start of a rebuilding phase. "Last year Penfield was young themselves," Hadnagy continued. "They've gotten better and we figured they would want revenge, and they brought it."
But in several crucial spots, Olivia Kirk sent it back. The goalie made seven saves, four on close-range shots, for Farmingdale (15-3).
Penfield (15-6) dominated the draw controls, but the Dalers' defense compensated with turnovers from its pressure zone.
"We were really on with our backer," defender Kayleigh Escamilla said of the strategy. "When we're clicking like that, we can give offenses a hard time."
Courtney McPartland and Samantha Brescia helped hold Penfield star Sheila Nesselbush scoreless. The backer perhaps came as a surprise to the Patriots. Farmingdale, known for its aggressive man-to-man defense, hadn't utilized zone schemes until this year, Campbell said.
Tara Wahl's goal, an overhand blast off a feed from Paige DeVine, gave the Dalers a 3-2 lead 13:07 before intermission. Farmingdale pushed it to 6-3 on Weill's one-timer late in the first half.
"We don't have great lacrosse players, just great athletes," Campbell said. "But they're so receptive, and we've got girls coming into their own as we go."
In other words, fledglings taking flight.