Kasey Choma’s face said it all. With eye black running down each cheek from the pouring rain, Choma smiled ear-to-ear as she recounted her game-winning free position.
The junior from Eastport-South Manor lined up on the eight-meter with 48 seconds left in overtime and buried the shot attempt. She leaped into the arms of her oncoming teammates as the top-seeded Sharks celebrated an 8-7 win over second-seeded West Babylon in Thursday’s Suffolk Class B girls lacrosse championship game at Hauppauge.
“I honestly had no idea what I was thinking,” Choma said. “I knew that once I had that free position I had to finish it, and that would be the game.”
Both sides played an aggressive style, and the game that unfolded on the drenched turf was fitting given the conditions. Players lost their footing, balls slipped out of sticks and rain made it difficult to see.
But ESM prevailed, and it will face Manhasset in the Long Island Class B championship 7:30 p.m. on Sunday at Islip.
Trailing 5-3 after Hannah Heller’s fifth goal for West Babylon, ESM (15-2) used a 3-0 run to take its first lead of the game. A goal by Ellie Masera was sandwiched between two scores from Hope Steuerwald (two goals, three assists), as ESM took a 6-5 lead with 14:04 to play.
Seventh-grader Lacey Downey tied the game for West Babylon (15-3), but Jaime Biskup buried a Steuerwald feed with 2:37 remaining for a 7-6 lead.
Emily Heller sent the game to overtime on a free position with 1:33 remaining. West Babylon had two looks at the cage in the final minute but couldn’t convert, setting up Choma’s winner.
Sharks coach Becky Thorn said this was a matter of redemption, as West Babylon beat ESM, 8-7, in triple-overtime during the regular season.
“The first time we played them was probably one of the ugliest games that we’ve had,” she said. “Honestly, I don’t think we played our best today. Obviously, weather played a factor for both teams. But redemption’s always sweet.”
Choma felt the same.
“We knew that they were going to score, definitely,” she said. “I knew that once we were down that this was our turn. They had it the first time, but it was us this time.”