CORTLAND, N.Y. — Just stick to the formula.
The Mount Sinai girls lacrosse team has a distinct method in which it plays. Sure, the Mustangs are talented, but there isn’t one clear-cut star on the field. That means coach Al Bertolone has to preach his system.
“The formula for good lacrosse is you win the draw, you control the possession, you play good defense, you limit opportunities,” he said.
If there were a checklist following Mt. Sinai’s 10-3 win over Honeoye Falls-Lima in the state Class C semifinals on Friday, you could mark each item.
Erica Shea was strong on the draw, giving the Mustangs opportunities to score or take time off the clock. Emily Vengilio and Hannah Van Middelem (two saves) anchored the defense, closing lanes and denying shots.
Five different Mustangs scored in the first half, as Leah Nonnenmann, Meaghan Tyrrell, Meghan Walker, Rayna Sabella and Shea each netted a tally. Mt. Sinai (17-3) had a 5-2 lead at the break.
Tyrrell added two more scores in the second, giving her a game-high three. That’s unusual for a team that likes to spread it around, but she said she was just taking advantage of opportunities.
“We like to spread around our scoring,” Tyrrell said. “But sometimes it just happens where people step up. And today I stepped up, I feel.”
The defense also stepped up, allowing just one goal from Caitlin Muir in the second with 6:34 to play. That gave the offense the opportunity to win draws and control the clock.
Proving people wrong has been a goal of Mt. Sinai’s this season, and the Mustangs didn’t just prove people wrong with this result. They made a statement.
The Mustangs were dominant on both ends of the field. When they play Skaneateles on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. in the Class C championship, they’ll look to continue that dominance.
“We haven’t proved people wrong until we’ve won the state championship,” said Tyrrell.
Don’t expect the big stage to shake their nerves, either. Van Middelem knows her team is ready, especially after last year’s state title.
“We’ve played in such big games like in the county championship against Bayport and Long Islands against Cold Spring Harbor,” said Van Middelem. “So we’re used to the venues.”
Assuming they stick to the formula, the Mustangs may finally finish proving people wrong after what has been a season filled with statement win after statement win.