Lauren Fox wasn’t even sure she’d be able to field a girls lacrosse team at Long Island Lutheran this spring.
Numbers were down after a talented class graduated, so the coach had to recruit players new to the sport. One of the key holdovers was Katie Poretsky, who helped spark an exponential growth in her teammates’ abilities.
She left her mark on the season and the PSAA championship game on Tuesday, scoring the winning goal with five seconds remaining to lead top-seeded Lutheran over second-seeded Portledge, 13-12. It is LuHi’s third straight PSAA title.
The Crusaders advance to the NYSAIS Tournament, which begins Saturday. Fox said seeds and matchups will be revealed on Wednesday.
“Our team is very young,” Fox said. “We only have two seniors, and one senior had never even played before. I didn’t know what to expect from them.”
A first half in which Lutheran “forced a lot of things” put the Crusaders in an early 8-5 hole. The defense buckled down behind Ava Castronovo (10 saves), sparking a second-half resurgence.
Molly Bardong tied the score at 12 for Portledge with under three minutes remaining. Lutheran later secured possession and called a timeout with 58 seconds left, setting up Poretsky’s winner.
“That second half, we just saw that flip of the switch,” Fox said. “I could see it in their eyes.”