The Mount Sinai offense knows it doesn’t have to account for much. With the Mustangs’ dominant defense, four or five goals should do the trick.
That was the case in Sunday’s Long Island Class C girls lacrosse championship, as Mount Sinai’s backline headlined by Emily Vengilio and Haley Dillon held Wantagh to a season-low four goals in a 10-4 win at Adelphi’s Motamed Field.
The lockdown one-on-one defenders — along with goalie Hannah Van Middelem, who made five saves — effectively shut down the Warriors’ potent offense.
As a result, the Mustangs advanced to Friday’s state semifinal against Burnt-Hills-Ballston Lake at SUNY Cortland in hopes of playing for their third consecutive state title.
“Our defense has been a stronghold this season, so if the offense is lacking a little, we know we can always back them up,” said Vengilio, who will play at Penn State next season. “But our offense played a great game today like they had been the past couple games.”
Meaghan Tyrrell made sure the offense scored enough to reward the defensive effort, netting four goals and tallying two assists. Both assists came in the final two minutes of the second half on goals by Morgan Mitchell and Veronica Venezia, extending the Mustangs’ lead to 6-3.
Tyrrell wasn’t done. She then scored the first two goals of the second half to make it 8-3.
“We really do rely on our defense,” Tyrrell said. “That’s when we know that if we go up a couple goals, the defense will hold them down.”
Stifling defense is nothing new for Mount Sinai (16-2). The Mustangs held opponents to 3.7 goals per game this season, highlighted by two shutout performances in April.
Wantagh (12-4) did threaten early. Taylor Carson scored two of her three goals in the first 12 minutes, the latter of which gave the Warriors a 3-2 lead with 13:10 left in the first half. The Mustangs proceeded to hold Wantagh scoreless until Carson scored her third with 12:08 left in the game.
“We are so good down there that I know all we have to do is get it to where we score 5, 6, 7 goals, and it’ll be that kind of game,” Mount Sinai coach Al Bertolone said. “Defensively, they’re juggernauts down there.”
Vengilio and Dillon aren’t the only game-changers on the defense. Julia Markey and twins Meaghan and Kirsten Scutaro help anchor a unit that keeps pressure off Van Middelem, an excellent goalie bound for Syracuse.
It’s that defense, along with the timely offensive contributions from Tyrrell, Venezia and Leah Nonnenmann (two goals) that have the Mustangs in position to contend for another state title.
“We’re definitely ready,” Vengilio said. “We’ve been waiting for this since March 1 when the season started.”