With Morgan Mitchell in the draw circle, the Mount Sinai girls lacrosse team needed to retain its focus. Five seconds of focus.
That’s what coach Al Bertolone preaches to his draw unit of Mitchell, Jenny Markey, Meaghan Tyrrell and her younger sister, Emma, and it paid off in the second half.
Trailing by a goal at halftime, the Mustangs leaned on those in the circle. They managed to win the first three draws of the second half, each of which resulted in a goal, as host Mount Sinai defeated Eastport-South Manor, 10-8, in a matchup of two of the top teams in Suffolk II.
“Always coming out of halftime, I think winning the first draw is important because it will show where the momentum’s going,” said Tyrrell, who had five goals and an assist. “In our case, we had the momentum going in our favor. Winning those three draws were a huge turning point.”
Camryn Harloff scored the tying goal off an assist from Gabby Sartori, then Tyrrell ripped off three straight for a 10-7 lead. This came after ESM dominated the end of the first half, scoring four straight for a 7-5 lead. Jaime Biskup and Kasey Choma each scored twice during the run.
Mount Sinai (8-1) was outdrawn 8-6 in the first half but held a 4-2 advantage in the second half. This allowed the Mustangs to put together long possessions and keep the ball away from the Sharks’ dynamic playmakers.
When ESM (7-2) had the ball, second-half goalkeeper Emily Lamparter and her defense limited its looks at the cage. Lamparter, a freshman, stopped a free position and another shot up close, while Markey, Kelly Johnston and twins Meaghan and Kirsten Scutaro prevented the Sharks from attempting much else. Sienna Masullo made three saves in the first half.
“We realized that we have to come back from these things and we need the confidence and intensity to come back,” said Mitchell, whose free position gave Mount Sinai a 5-3 lead in the first half.
“We just had a loss [to Bayport-Blue Point], and we need to bounce back. When we’re down, we have to realize that we’re still in the game.”
Lluna Katz scored a free position for ESM with 11:25 remaining, cutting the deficit to 10-8. After that, Tyrrell and the Mustangs focused solely on killing clock. Even with multiple defenders running to her, Tyrrell stayed poised and delivered crisp passes away from the defense.
“Being four years on the team, being a senior, you just know when to slow it down, not force anything or make any silly errors,” she said. “I know it’s hard in those moments, but you just have to breathe.”
And keep five seconds of focus.