Riley Cash’s scoring helped coach Carol Rainson-Rose collect her 500th...

Riley Cash’s scoring helped coach Carol Rainson-Rose collect her 500th victory for Northport in Suffolk Class A semifinal on Friday, May 17, 2024. Credit: Peter Frutkoff

The sight of another county title has come into full view and, like a marathoner first spying the finish line, the Northport girls lacrosse team has broken into a sprint for it. Just like it always does.

The Tigers’ championship pedigree was present throughout as it started fast, shook off some midgame adversity and outlasted formidable host Commack for an 8-7 Suffolk Class A semifinal victory to earn career win No. 500 for coach Carol Rainson-Rose and the chance to defend its crown.

Third-seeded Northport (14-3) got three goals by Riley Cash, two scores by Kate Atkinson and a 12-save performance in goal by Charlotte Cuneo to the triumph and will face No. 1 Ward Melville in Friday’s 4:30 p.m. championship game at West Islip. The Tigers have won the last four county titles and will be going for their ninth Class A and 16th overall county crown.

“Just because we finished in third place this season doesn’t mean we are any less great,” Atkinson said. “We showed who we are today.”

“The execution was great today and we had a little bit of everything,” Rainson-Rose said. “We made the draw a priority because it hurt us against them (in a regular season loss), we picked the defense apart a little bit and (Cuneo) stood on her head to lead the defense.”

Cash scored twice and Julia Huxtable once as Northport raced to a 3-1 lead, but Commack (14-3) got four second-quarter goals — from Liliana Pettit, Amelia Brite, Ashley Arizonis and Emily Parisi — to tie it at 5 at the break. Atkinson’s first goal and Cash’s third gave the Tigers a two-goal lead before Arizonis cut the margin to 7-6 with 44.5 seconds left in the third quarter.

Atkinson raced past the goalmouth on a free possession and put in a low shot with 5:56 to play for what would prove to be the winner at the end of a 2:50 possession.

“I get anxious in those situations, but then I hear our coach’s voice in my head saying to stay confident,” Atkinson said.

Brite’s third goal, with 3:57 left, cut the lead in half, but that was all the Cougars would get.

The key for Northport was the draw. When it lost to Commack it lost 16 of 22. It won the first five behind Radziul Kennedy — and 11 of 19 total — in this one.

“The comeback is better than the setback,” Cuneo said.

After the final buzzer the Tigers mobbed Rainson-Rose, bringing her to the cusp of tears.

“We had a lot to play for today and she’s the reason we believed we could win,” Huxtable said. “She deserves this.”


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