Newsday’s Kenny DeJohn previews the state championship weekend in girls lacrosse after Sunday’s Long Island championships in which three of the four games were decided in overtime.
Below are three reasons why each of Long Island’s representatives have what it takes to win a state championship this weekend at SUNY-Cortland. Full brackets can be found on nysphsaa.org.
Class A: West Islip
1. Lauren DiStefano — The senior goalkeeper might be the most important Long Island player this weekend. When she’s making stops — which she’s been doing consistently in the playoffs — the Lions are a force. She’s made 142 saves this season, including 10 against Northport in the Suffolk A championship and 13 against Massapequa in the Long Island championship.
2. Speedy offense — There’s speed all around, but Jaden Hampel and Danielle Marino are two keys. Hampel, a sophomore, is tied for fourth in Suffolk with 87 points. Marino’s 43 goals are second on the team. Don’t sleep on Samantha Blair, either.
3. Never satisfied — Coach Joe Nicolosi preached about his team’s resiliency this week, as the Lions had to defeat previously undefeated Northport for their county title. The last time West Islip made the state semifinals was in 2016, but the Lions couldn’t advance to the championship. The Lions are motivated.
Class B: Manhasset
1. Offensive options — You can’t faceguard anybody on the Indians because somebody else will score. Kelly Trotta, Shea Garcia, Emma LoPinto and Grace Gately all have proven to be consistent options. Trotta leads the way with 52 goals.
2. Krissy Kowalski — Like DiStefano, Manhasset’s senior goalkeeper is a defensive anchor. She made five stops in an overtime win over Eastport-South Manor in the Long Island championship, and she’s one of the top netminders on Long Island.
3. Mentally prepared — Manhasset was ready to celebrate a win over ESM before Hannah Kenneally forced overtime with a second left in regulation. The Indians could have wilted, but Gately scored the winner in overtime. They won’t face a more difficult situation than that.
Class C: Cold Spring Harbor
1. Already tested — Mount Sinai had been No. 1 in Newsday’s girls lacrosse Top 10 all season and generally considered one of the top five teams in the state by Inside Lacrosse. Well, the Seahawks beat the Mustangs in overtime in the Long Island championship, and there probably isn’t a better Class C team upstate.
2. Draw dominance — Grace Tauckus, Sophia Taglich and Sophia DeRosa all see time inside the draw circle, while Nicole Mormile helps out outside the circle. The quartet is one of the best draw units on the Island, and the speed with which they can get out in transition makes the Seahawks dangerous.
3. Offensive options — Like Manhasset, CSH has a wealth of scorers. Caroline DeBellis, DeRosa and Katherine Faria lead the way, but Tauckus and Mormile chip in, too. This is a high-octane offense.
Class D: Mattituck / Southold
1. Experience — The Tuckers lost in the state semifinals last season to Bronxville, 13-7, and much of the roster returns for a second try. The loss was far from an embarrassing one, but the Tuckers are ready for a revenge tour. Bronxville and Palmyra-Macedon play in the other semifinal, with Mattituck facing first-time Class D participant South Jefferson.
2. The Hoegs — Two Hoeg sisters — Riley and Mackenzie — have been lighting up scoreboards all season. Mackenzie has 80 points, while Riley has 75 points, and the dynamic duo have been catalysts on a consistent offense. Another Hoeg, Claudia, minds the cage.
3. Senior class — Mattituck has six seniors that will play in college. Alex Beebe (Adelphi), Jane DiGregorio (Davidson), Chelsea Marlborough (Harvard), Brianna Fox (Misericordia), Alex Talbot (Tufts) and Ashley Burns (Wagner) played in the state semis last year, and their veteran presence could be the difference in their second try at a state championship.
Newsday’s Top 10
1. Manhasset (Last week: 2)
2. Cold Spring Harbor (4)
3. West Islip (5)
4. Mount Sinai (1)
5. Mattituck / Southold (7)
6. Sacred Heart (6)
7. Eastport-South Manor (3)
8. Massapequa (8)
9. Northport (9)
10. West Babylon (10)
Friday’s state semifinals at SUNY-Cortland
Class C — Cold Spring Harbor vs. Jamesville-DeWitt, 9 a.m. (Final — Saturday, 9 a.m.)
Class D — Mattituck / Southold vs. South Jefferson, 11 a.m. (Final — Saturday, 11:30 a.m.)
Class A — West Islip vs. Christian Brothers Academy, 1 p.m. (Final — Saturday, 2 p.m.)
Class B — Manhasset vs. Fayetteville-Manlius, 3 p.m. (Final — Saturday, 4:30 p.m.)