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Carolyn Dottino's five goals, team defense lead Long Island Lutheran

Long Island Lutheran senior Carolyn Dottino handles the

Long Island Lutheran senior Carolyn Dottino handles the ball on offense in a game against Portledge. (May 16, 2013) Credit: Steven Ryan

There was an audible reaction to each move as Carolyn Dottino attacked the defense from the left wing.

"Oooh!" as she switched her stick to the off hand and spun left.

An "Ahhh!" when she followed with a step-back and jab step.

Then a spin to the right that buckled the defender's knees -- "Ohhhhh!" -- and a sidearm shot from 8 yards to score.

The crowd at Long Island Lutheran erupted, much the way an audience would after a spectacular crossover in a basketball game.

Dottino's tally there put the Crusaders up 15 early in the second half and, as slick as that move was, the senior has scored in similar sequences a few times this year. The goal total brought excitement, but it was the opponents' total in Thursday's game -- an 18-4 rout of IPPSAL rival Portledge -- that was most encouraging for Lutheran girls lacrosse.

"I can't tell you how excited I am to have the defense perform like this," said defender Giovanna Caponi, who helped LuHi win 14 draw controls. "There's absolutely nothing better, and it's a great sign for us going forward."

Forward, to the playoffs.

Lutheran (11-6) secured the third seed and hosts Brooklyn's Poly Prep at 11 a.m. Sunday in the first round of the IPPSAL tournament.

First there was this tune-up on Senior Day. The Crusaders dominated from the outset, taking a 14-2 lead into the half.

Nicole Sinacori, Long Island's leader with 98 goals, scored five more and added three assists. Her twin sister, Danielle, had four goals and five assists, and Dottino had five goals and two assists. Macy McNair had a goal, an assist and four ground balls.

"Our offense is usually clicking, but the defense has really come on," said Dottino, a Louisville-bound midfielder. "It's like we're all attached on a string and moving as a unit."

Portledge was consistently contested from midfield in. So much so that Sam Horton and Frankie Filandro each needed only one save in the win. Ceci Murly scored twice for Portledge (6-6).

Caponi and Lauren Posillico, with their height and reach, are difficult to drive around; Tessa Battistin forces turnovers with her tenacious style; Nani Redford, known for her basketball prowess, has utilized her speed in becoming a solid transition defender.

"We have great communication, knowing when to switch and go from ball to girl, and that's big," Battistin said. "Poly can score, so we'll really need to get it done on defense in the playoffs."

Even if they won't elicit many oohs and ahhs.

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