By no means did the Wantagh girls lacrosse team play poorly in the first half of Tuesday’s Nassau C semifinal, but it wasn’t the type of lacrosse the Warriors knew they could play.
The lacrosse they displayed in the second half — specifically in the first 10 minutes — was the type of championship-caliber play they’re capable of.
Kayla Conway helped top-seeded Wantagh win five straight draws and scored twice in a 5-0 run that broke a tie at the onset of the second half, leading Wantagh to an 11-8 win over No. 4 Lynbrook at Adelphi’s Motamed Field.
Wantagh (11-3) will play No. 2 Cold Spring Harbor in the Nassau C championship at Motamed Field at 6:30 p.m. May 31.
“I think in the second half, I figured out how to get the draw going where I wanted to, and it worked,” said Conway, who scored five goals. “It gave us a lot more possession and control.”
Possession was a key, especially when Lynbrook surged, trailing 10-5. Molly Carter, Elizabeth Murphy and Sophia LoCicero tallied three straight goals for the Owls within 1 minute, 33 seconds, cutting Wantagh’s lead to 10-8 with 10:36 remaining.
But Conway continued her mastery of the draw, allowing Wantagh to eat away at the remaining time on the clock.
“Kayla was able to place the draw well, and that was a huge part of our success,” said Megan Gordon, who had three goals and three assists and said the play of Lynbrook goalie Hope Germanakos (11 saves) made scoring a challenge.
The Wantagh defense homed in on Carter, Long Island’s leading goal scorer (105 goals). The attack, who is committed to Syracuse, still scored four times, but considering she scored nine goals in each of the previous two playoff games, the strategy to face-guard her was successful.
Now the Warriors face a well-balanced Cold Spring Harbor team with weapons on offense and a steady defense. Wantagh lost to the Seahawks, 5-4, on March 28.
“When we played them at the beginning of the season, we weren’t ready yet, but we’ve really changed a lot as a team,” Conway said. “I think we’re a lot more ready now.”