Caroline Fitzgerald's contributions have a tendency to fall under the radar -- the heavy pressure she puts on teams, her ability to work the entire field and her adeptness in reading situations and reacting accordingly.
"This is just one of those situations where all the hard work comes through,'' coach Al Bertolone said. "She controls the flow of the game in the middle of the field. She supports the defense and the offense.''
Led by Fitzgerald and Kasey Mitchell, the undefeated Mustangs defeated the defending state champions, 7-3, on Dowling's artificial turf. No. 1 Mount Sinai will play the Nassau Class C champion in the sectional final Sunday at Adelphi.
"We really game-planned all week with our defense,'' said Fitzgerald, who had two goals. "We knew we had offensive power, but they have offensive power, too. We knew we had to hold them and not give up on anything.''
Mount Sinai (17-0) scored the first four goals, two by Mitchell, both facilitated by Sydney Pirreca. Leading 3-0 with 8:42 left, Pirreca snagged a ground ball deep in her own territory and gunned it to Mitchell, who ran down from around midfield to make it 4-0.
The ballooning advantage was sweet relief against a team that beat them in the county final last year, Bertolone said.
"For us, they were always the measuring stick,'' he said. "They were the standard we tried to achieve. It was important to win it through them.''
No. 2 Shoreham (13-5) didn't score until 5:32 was left before halftime, when Jessica Angerman made it 4-1, but Pirreca scored 12 seconds later.
It was too much for Shoreham to overcome, especially with the slick conditions and limited visibility. "I actually think we were more focused,'' Mitchell said. "We play well in the rain.''
Added Fitzgerald: "It can either get in your head or not. We came in saying they have to play in the rain, too.''
It worked in Mount Sinai's favor. But then again, that's what happens when you have a force of nature on your side.