Garden City’s Kendal Morris and Grace Hopkins shake on it during girls lacrosse state...

Garden City’s Kendal Morris and Grace Hopkins shake on it during girls lacrosse state final on Saturday, June 10, 2023. Credit: Mark McGauley

CORTLAND — The Garden City girls lacrosse team made it to the final day of the season. That of itself is an accomplishment that is not taken lightly. But Garden City couldn’t take home the ultimate prize. It lost, 8-6, to Victor, the defending champions, in the state Class B final at SUNY-Cortland on Saturday afternoon.

“I’m so proud of my team and everything we accomplished,” said Mabel Overbeck, a junior defender. “We put our hearts on the field and I’m proud. It wasn’t the outcome we wanted but it’s OK. We worked really hard.”

Senior midfielder Marie Cacciabaudo shared similar sentiments. During a chaotic four years without a season in 2020 and no state championships in 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was no guarantee even a traditional powerhouse like Garden City would reach Cortland during her four years. 

“I’m so proud of everything we accomplished this season,” Cacciabaudo said. “Not many teams get to say they won a county championship and Long Island championship and say they are a state finalist. Unfortunately, it wasn’t our outcome, but I’m so proud of everything we accomplished.”

Victor (17-4) dominated draw controls and time of possession in the second half and utilized a 4-0 scoring run for 5:40 to take an 8-4 lead with 8:51 left in the second half. Three of those four goals came with a man-up advantage for Victor.

“Their ball movement was really amazing,” Cacciabaudo said. “Unfortunately we had a few yellow cards and they did capitalize on those. But we still tried to remain composed and do everything we can, but they are a great team. They’re a really great team.”

Kyle Finnell had four goals and Maureen Arendt added a goal and an assist for Garden City (17-4). Finnell scored two goals in the first four minutes and Arendt scored off an assist from Katie Gaven to give Garden City a 3-1 lead with 10:53 left in the half. But Devin Livingston, who is committed to play at Maryland, scored two of her four goals before halftime to tie the score at 3.

“It was a tough game,” coach Dave Ettinger said. “We gave a good team too many opportunities and I think we just made too many mistakes throughout the game and gave them too much time of possession. And it’s tough to get the ball back in this sport without a shot clock and a good team like that did a good job of possessing the ball and winning their opportunities.”

But Ettinger was also proud of his team, which entered on a 14-game winning streak and without a loss in nearly two full months. 

“Sometimes you can learn a lot in a tough loss and hopefully you can learn you can do a little bit more and put a little more in and work a little bit harder when nobody’s watching to try to get a better result when you get to this stage,” Ettinger said. “But I told them before this game that I’m proud of them win or lose and I’m proud of them.”

Garden City won its third straight Nassau Class B title this season, and second Long Island Class B crown during that span. It won in 2021 but there was no state championship to follow.

Garden City graduates six seniors, including starters in Grace Hopkins, Ariana Bransfield, Gaven and Cacciabaudo. But Garden City will return a strong core next season with hopes of returning — and winning — on the final day.

“We have so much young talent and I’m really excited for next year and what’s to come,” Overbeck said. “I’m really excited to be a senior. We were so lucky to have all of our seniors this year but we’re really excited for next year, too.”

“Not many people get to say they’re a state finalist and we truly left everything out on the field,” Cacciabaudo said. “Through all the ups and downs, we still made it here and I wouldn’t change anything.”

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