Michelle Yu had a first half to forget but a second half to remember.
The senior was benched with seven minutes left before halftime because of what Oyster Bay girls lacrosse coach Charlie Rizzuto deemed poor play. She responded by scoring four second-half goals and helping lift the Baymen over visiting MacArthur, 14-12, in Nassau II.
“His criticism is to help me as a player and make the team better,” said Yu, who had five goals and one assist. “He just told me to play Michelle Yu lacrosse. I’m the type of player who will take criticism and fix myself. I don’t take it to heart or get mad.”
Yu scored on a free position with 15:57 left in the game for a three-goal lead at 10-7 then added consecutive goals with 8:59 and 5:08 left, the latter of which came off a cross-field pass from Ashley Duggan and gave Oyster Bay a 13-10 advantage.
The difference in her play from the first to second half was obvious. Early on, Yu forced shots and passes, which led to turnovers and missed opportunities. In the second half, she maintained an aggressive style but let the game come to her, allowing Oyster Bay to erase a 6-5 halftime deficit.
“I took her out and I said one thing to her, and then I just let her stand there, knowing that she’d come out in the second half as the player we all know she can be,” Rizzuto said. “She was the type of player that we expect in the second half.”
With Yu out, other players took on important roles for Oyster Bay (1-2). Maggie Frankel had four goals and an assist, including Oyster Bay’s final three goals of the first half.
Kaitlin Pellechia scored back-to-back goals on assists from Jessica Layne 29 seconds apart for a 9-7 lead with 17:11 remaining.
“We know if somebody’s not having a great day we just support each other,” Frankel said. “I think we have a whole support unit and when you need somebody to step up, just go for it.”
Emily Vomvas made 11 saves for the Baymen. Erin Vaughan Ware had five goals and an assist, and Katelyn Politi had four goals for MacArthur (0-2).
The Generals continued chipping away in the final minutes, but Yu’s goal with 5:08 left was the dagger. It just took some motivation for her to play like one of Long Island’s best.