Maggie Clark found herself in a rare situation where there was literally nothing between her and a goal.
The Bayport-Blue Point attack/midfielder had and converted on an empty net free-position following a Mount Sinai penalty for her third goal of the game — which ended up being the winner — in second-seeded Bayport-Blue Point’s 7-6 victory in the girls lacrosse Suffolk Class C championship Thursday night. For her performance, she has been named Newsday’s Athlete of the Week.
“It was very strange, I’ve never been in that experience before,” Clark said. “I’ve never really seen much like that, so it was kind of odd to have a wide open net.”
With top-seeded Mount Sinai trailing by a goal at the time with less than three minutes remaining, Mount Sinai coach Al Bertolone pulled the goalkeeper, allowing the Mustangs an additional field player on defense.
But a Mount Sinai defender stepped in the crease and defended a shot on a Phantoms attempt on the open net, which created the violation and ensuing free-position shot and goal, which gave Bayport a 7-5 lead.
“You just have to really focus on getting the ball in the net and not making it as big as it is,” Clark said. “In the end, it’s a wide open net. And you could do 1,000 times in practice, and you just have to focus on doing that.”
And the moment and success of Clark has just reinforced the thoughts coach Ryan Gick had about his junior player.
“Me and her have had numerous conversations about what Maggie has the potential to be, and I think it was a great way for her to really realize that on a really big stage,” Gick said. “So I think it was a great moment for her and I hope that she gets confidence from this that she’s the stud player that she really is.”
After losing in overtime to Westhampton in the Suffolk Class C semifinals last season, the Phantoms have been focused on a deep postseason run.
“One of our slogans this year was a ‘Revenge Tour,’ ” said Clark, who is committed to James Madison. “And I think that’s really driven us this whole time.”
And with Clark as one of the focal points, success has followed the Phantoms throughout the season.
“If you look at her, she physically has athletic gifts that not many kids have,” Gick said. “She’s as strong as anything and she has a speed to her that some kids can’t touch.”