As Saturday afternoon turned to evening and regulation turned to overtime, the lights were turned on at Ed Walsh Field for the game between undefeated rivals Manhasset and Garden City. Manhasset coach Danielle Gallagher took that as a cue to illuminate her team about an aspect of the game she thought could prove to be the difference.
"We had to make sure to make the little things a priority," Gallagher told the Indians during the five-minute intermission between regulation and overtime. "The key ground balls, being careful with passes, the hustle on defense that leads to a turnover. Those things add up to the big things."
All of host Manhasset's efforts leading up to the final buzzer in its 10-9 OT win in Conference I lacrosse were reflective of Gallagher's message, from the first few moments of overtime to Erin Barry's winning goal on a precise feed by Kellen D'Alleva from behind the cage.
"It was a perfect pass," Barry said. "The whole game I'd been working with Kellen from behind the goal. Their defenders turned their heads and I knew I had the backdoor cut, and we executed it."
After the opening draw in the first overtime, an 18-second scuffle ensued. The ball trickled on the ground, eluding a dozen sticks while maroon and white jerseys clamored over each other to grab possession before a sliding Sarah Phillips, who is committed to Cornell, came up with it for the Indians (8-0).
"When I try to think what the most critical part of the game was, that's the first thing that comes to mind," Gallagher said.
After Garden City (7-1) got possession back, Manhasset's Lindsey Ronbeck intercepted a pass midstride and moved the ball up the field, setting the stage for D'Alleva and Barry's connection.
"Kellen and I have been working together since I was a freshman," Barry, a junior, said of her senior teammate. "We've been in sync ever since."
Garden City thought it had tied the score after Katie Muldoon scored off a free position with 1:30 left in the second overtime period, but the goal was waved off and Muldoon was issued a yellow card. The referees ruled that Muldoon had taken a dangerous shot.
"Basically, when you have a defender on the ground after a shot, it's a card," Gallagher said.
Manhasset came into the game ranked No. 3 in the country, according to LaxPower.com, and Garden City was ranked seventh.
Ronbeck, a senior committed to Florida, led with five goals. Barry (committed to the University of Pennsylvania) added three goals, and D'Alleva (committed to Dartmouth) had two goals and four assists. Harvard-bound Katie Muldoon scored four times for Garden City (7-1).
"We love this atmosphere," Ronbeck said. "Garden City's a great team, great competition. It definitely adds something to it. I really wanted to step up today."
The teams traded goals for the first 15 minutes of play before Ronbeck scored consecutive goals on free positions in a span of 47 seconds to give the Indians a 4-2 lead. Barry had two more goals for Manhasset in the first half, but scores by Michaela Bruno and Margot McTiernan kept Garden City within 6-4 heading into the break.
In the second half, Manhasset built its lead to 8-5 thanks to early goals by D'Alleva and Ronbeck, but before they could even blink, Garden City had answered. A goal by McTiernan and two by Muldoon erased a three-goal deficit in a span of 2:24 with 13 minutes remaining.
Ronbeck scored on an inside dish from Princeton commit Kathryn Hallet with 10:15 left to give Manhasset back the lead, but Muldoon's third goal of the game tied the score at 9 with 2:54 to go in regulation.
"It was a statement win," Barry said. "We know Garden City's always a good fight. Even if we thought we were the better team coming in, we had to prove it."