For almost a year, the words have echoed through the halls of West Islip High School. They're written on posters in the locker room, and uttered every day in practice by members of the girls lacrosse team.
"Finish the fight."
After their five-goal loss to West Genesee in the state championship game a season ago, the Lions have been on a mission in 2015. Saturday, they took the next step to getting back to the state final, capturing the Long Island Class A crown with an 11-7 win over Syosset at Adelphi. Four goals by junior attacker Chelsea Sorahan and three by junior midfielder Vanessa Costantino led the way.
"That motto's driven us all season," Sorahan said. "Every single day we would talk about how we lost last year to West Genesee. It's motivated us in practice. We want to come out on top this year."
West Islip's last obstacle before the state final is, fittingly, West Genesee. The teams are set to face off in a state semifinal at noon Friday in Cortland.
"I'm so excited to get back up there," said Costantino, who had three assists, "and have another chance at them."
Nicole Concannon's goal six minutes into the game put Syosset on top first, but the Braves (10-6) wouldn't lead for long. Sorahan scored on a pass by Emily Picciullo 27 seconds later, and Picciullo and Alyssa Gillespie added goals of their own in the two minutes that followed to give West Islip (17-3) a 3-1 lead. Emily Beier and Gillespie each had a goal to help the Lions finish the half on a 7-3 run.
"We go down by a goal, we'll come back with a goal," Costantino said. "We keep coming and we keep pushing. We never let anything faze us."
Concannon scored two of Syosset's four goals in the second half, but it wasn't enough to keep West Islip from its second straight Long Island title.
"After getting to the final and then being second . . . We're hungry," Costantino said. "You even hear teachers say, 'finish the fight.' We're going to finish it this year."