Fierce pressure defense and a late comeback attempt were just two of the obstacles the Floral Park girls lacrosse team had to overcome Thursday.
Host Bethpage, scrappy on both offense and defense, closed a five-goal deficit to one with 20:45 remaining, but Tate Horan and Maeve McGovern took over for Floral Park, helping the Knights seal a 16-13 win in Nassau III.
McGovern cashed in an assist from Horan to stop a 4-0 Bethpage run and give Floral Park a 13-11 lead, and after a Bethpage strike from Taylor Hannaberry, the pair teamed up again for a 14-12 lead with 10:20 remaining.
Sam D’Aponte scored for Bethpage with 9:49 left, but Floral Park (6-1) buckled down defensively to keep Bethpage from completing the comeback.
“We came out for the second half and everyone was a little nervous,” said Horan, who had four goals and four assists. “Everyone was just thinking that maybe we had just lost our win. But everyone thought we played a good first half, so we could do it again.”
The Knights had ample opportunities to take control up two players because of yellow cards at the end of the first half, but other than a free position goal from Horan, Floral Park couldn’t take a sizable advantage. The Knights led 11-7 at the break.
Horan opened the second-half scoring on an assist from McGovern, but Kelly Hughes and Jessica Losquadro scored goals 23 seconds apart for Bethpage (4-3). D’Aponte then scored two of her five goals a minute apart, cutting the Floral Park lead to 12-11.
Floral Park assisted 13 of 16 goals, and the selfless ball movement allowed the Knights to find open scorers.
“We’ve been trying to work on it a lot during practice, just moving it as fast as we can,” said McGovern, who had four goals and two assists. “The faster we move, the more goals we can make.”
Relentless pressure from Bethpage’s defenders closed passing lanes at times, but persistence from the Floral Park attack allowed them to overcome.
Said Horan: “They came out stronger than they were in the first half, so we had to get stronger too.”