Danielle Pavinelli and Natalie Langella’s strong performance upfront and lockdown goaltending from Claire Morris have Northport back in the county semifinals.
Pavinelli had four goals and an assist, Langella added four goals and Morris made 11 saves to lead the No. 5 Tigers over host No. 4 Smithtown West, 13-4, Monday in a Suffolk A quarterfinal. Olivia Carner added three goals and three assists and Emerson Cabrera scored two goals for Northport (12-4), which advanced to the semifinals for the fifth straight season.
“We didn’t want to be in the same place we were last year, so that really motivated us,” Pavinelli said, in reference to the Tigers’ loss to Smithtown West in last season’s county semifinal.
A dynamic attacking performance ensured the script would be flipped, as clinical passing and finishing fueled the Tigers.
“I think the ball movement on attack was better than we’ve had this season,” Langella said. “We really worked together, moved off each other and really created opportunities for each other.”
“We played as a team which we’ve been trying to do throughout the whole season and it really came together today,” Pavinelli said.
Smithtown West (11-6) kept things close early, but was held in check by Morris, who made a number of close-range saves to help Northport take a 4-2 lead into halftime.
“She’s been the rock all season,” coach Carol Rose said of Morris. “She just sparks the team and gives everyone the confidence they need. She had some outstanding stuffs around the crease and leads the transition down the field.”
“I was really pumped up today,” Morris said. “I was really watching the ball and moving my feet and hands, and my defense is really great. They do a great job of keeping the shooters outside so they have a bad shot.”
In the second half, Northport’s offense went into another gear and the Tigers started the period on a 4-1 run.
“We’ve had a couple of games where we kind of let down a little bit in the second half and today our mantra was ‘no let down,’ ” Langella said. “Going into the second half, we really had a mindset that we weren’t going to slow up and we were going to fight until the last second. I think that really showed today.”
Northport will play at No. 1 Ward Melville on Wednesday for the right to go to the county championship.
“We’re pumped and hoping to get another win,” Pavinelli said.