Garden City's Kendal Morris looks to get around Ward Melville's Ava...

Garden City's Kendal Morris looks to get around Ward Melville's Ava Folkman in the fourth quarter during a non-league girls lacrosse game on Saturday at Ward Melville. Credit: Bob Sorensen

If you don’t have the ball, it’s pretty difficult to score.

It’s the most basic concept regardless of the sport, but sometimes in lacrosse especially, certain games highlight that simple truth. Draw controls aren’t one of the first stats the novice lacrosse fan will look for when scanning over a box score, but they can be the most crucial one. That was on the forefront Saturday in a matchup of two of the best girls lacrosse teams on Long Island.

Garden City defeated host Ward Melville, 9-7, on Saturday afternoon in a non-league girls lacrosse contest with huge time of possession differences in each half. Ward Melville won the majority of draw controls in the first half, leading to a 6-4 advantage at the break. But Garden City made a few adjustments in the second half and won the majority of the draws, led by Kendal Morris, and dominated time of possession in the second half. Kathryn Monaco and Victoria Ottomanelli also had key roles in second-half draw controls.

“That was the game,” coach Dave Ettinger said. “You can’t score without the ball and we didn’t have the ball for a lot of the first half. And it felt like whenever we had the ball in the first half we scored or executed pretty well. We got unlucky with some bounces but you can’t win in this sport without the ball and we really changed that in the mid-third quarter and throughout the fourth quarter.”

Garden City (3-0) scored three goals over 1:43 to tie the score at seven with 7:31 left in the third quarter. The Trojans had a dominant run of success on the draw circle leading to the three goals in 103 seconds. Maureen Arendt scored the first two goals of the run with Morris finishing the final goal during the stretch. Morris also assisted on Arendt’s second goal.

“If you don’t have the ball, you can’t score a goal, so it’s one of the most important parts of the game,” Morris said. “It changed the entire game. We started winning (almost) every single one and every time we got the ball, we ran down and scored or made a play.”

Kyle Finnell scored the winning goal with 8:53 left in the fourth quarter with a hard shot on a run to the net to break the tie at seven. Ottomanelli scored the final goal off an assist from Averie Smith with 6:45 left.

MJ Timpanaro had two goals and six draw controls and Kate Spinks and Mia Pirozzi each added two goals for Ward Melville (2-1).

Finnell finished with three goals and Ashley Clark added two goals. Garden City dominated possession in the fourth quarter as well.

“Once we get the lead, we’re kind of set,” Finnell said. “That was a great fourth quarter. Everything really started clicking together.”

Garden City, the defending Long Island Class B champions, has challenged itself with a tough non-conference schedule to begin the season. The Trojans fell to Victor, 8-6, in the state Class B final last season and haven’t forgotten that feeling. Ward Melville is expected to be in the Suffolk Class A championship mix this season.

“We really want to get back to that last game with a different ending,” Finnell said. “We want to win it all this year and I think these games will help us get there.”

“Playing these types of games will only hopefully make you better in May,” Ettinger said. “It’s only March and the goal is to be playing well in May and June and these experiences and these tight games early in the year can only help.”


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