CORTLAND — When Kyle Finnell is behind the net for the Garden City girls lacrosse team, there’s little opposing teams can do to stop her. And the sophomore attack fully understands that.
Finnell scored three goals, including two wraparound shots from behind the cage, in a 12-6 victory over West Genesee in the state Class B semifinals at SUNY-Cortland on Friday morning.
“I kind of recognized how they were playing me around the crease and it worked out last time against West Islip (in the Long Island Class B championship), so just don’t fix what’s not broken,” Finnell said. “I practice a lot using the crease because the defenders can’t run through. I use that to my advantage.”
Garden City (17-3) advances to play defending state champion Victor (17-4) in the state final at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday at SUNY Cortland. West Genesee finished at 10-10.
“This is meaningful to everyone,” said Tori Ottomanelli, who had a goal and was key in the circle for draw controls. “We’ve worked so hard all season just to get to this moment and to play in a state championship is just unreal.”
Garden City went on a 5-0 scoring run for 8:11 to open a 6-2 lead with 11:51 left in the first half. And it led 7-3 at halftime.
“Any time you can start fast in a big game like that, it just gives you a little bit of confidence,” coach Dave Ettinger said. “I try to tell the girls at the end of the day it’s just a lacrosse game and they’ve played a ton of them, but it’s not when you’re up here in Cortland and every lacrosse player’s dream in New York state is to end their season here.”
Kendal Morris had three goals and an assist and Maureen Arendt added two goals for Garden City. Marie Cacciabaudo and Kate Gaven each added a goal and an assist, Regan Backer had two assists, Mabel Overbeck scored a goal and Niamh Pfaff made six saves as Garden City seeks its first state crown since 2017.
“We are so excited to even have the opportunity to play in this game and it means so much,” Finnell said. “2020 wasn’t a season (because of COVID) and in 2021 we could only go to the Long Island championship, so it’s so amazing that we get that opportunity to play for the state championship.”