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Emma LoPinto's overtime goal gives Manhasset girls a victory

Emma LoPinto of Manhasset reacts after scoring the

Emma LoPinto of Manhasset reacts after scoring the game-winning goal in overtime to defeat Darien (Conn.) in a non-league girls lacrosse game played at Manhasset on Thursday. Credit: James Escher

Emma LoPinto had been complaining to Manhasset girls lacrosse coach Meghan Clarke about her eight-meter shot. In LoPinto’s self-critical opinion, she could be better.

When LoPinto set herself at the top of the eight-meter arc on Thursday just 31 seconds into overtime, Clarke felt confident. LoPinto took a few steps and fired a righthanded snipe into the upper-right corner, punctuating an emotional comeback.

The sophomore’s sixth goal of the game gave Manhasset a 12-11 win over Darien (Connecticut) in a late-season non-league contest that saw Darien take an 11-9 lead with 11:59 remaining.

“She’s the kid I want to have that shot in the crucial moment in overtime,” Clarke said. “She thinks she’s having trouble with it, and her stats do not show it. She’s that type of kid. She wants everything to be perfect, and she works hard.”

LoPinto put Manhasset in position for overtime by scoring the game-tying goal in a player-up situation with 3:52 remaining. Abigail Kolyer made the last of her four second-half saves with 20 seconds left on a wraparound shot by Ashley Humphrey.

Kolyer stopped two other close shots in the last eight minutes, energizing the Indians as they worked to come back.

“The energy when she makes a save, it goes through the whole field,” said Ellie Taylor, who scored three goals and won crucial draws at the end of regulation.

“I have so much faith in her,” LoPinto said. “Watching it from the restraining line and not really being able to do anything is scary sometimes, but seeing her every day, I have so much faith in her to keep us alive.”

Kendall Sims’ free position gave Manhasset (11-1) a 6-5 lead heading into halftime, but Sarah Jaques and Nicole Humphrey scored consecutively for Darien to open the second half.

Just 10 seconds after Darien went ahead 7-6, LoPinto assisted Grace Gately, who pump-faked the goalkeeper down to her knees before finishing high, tying the game at 7.

Darien’s 11-9 lead came courtesy of another goal from Jacques, but Caroline Mondiello netted a free position soon after, cutting the deficit to 11-10.

Down a goal to national powerhouse McDonogh (Maryland) earlier in the season, Manhasset couldn’t come back. With 5:03 remaining against Darien, Clarke called a timeout to settle the team and plan the final minutes.

“I truthfully think that McDonogh loss was what we needed to get us motivated,” Clarke said.

Without Kolyer, the game wouldn’t have gone to overtime. And without LoPinto, Manhasset wouldn’t have won.

“I actually had a perfect view of the top-right of the cage when it went right in,” Kolyer said of the game-winner. “It was beautiful.”

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