CORTLAND, N.Y. — The Northport girls lacrosse team never struggled. Actually, the Tigers essentially dominated from start to finish, even if the halftime score didn’t reflect as much.
Seeking the program’s first state Class A championship since 2011, Northport took a three-goal lead into halftime then poured it on in the second half. Olivia Carner had five goals, Kaylie Mackiewicz had four goals and one assist and Kate McLam had one goal and four assists as Northport steamrolled Pittsford, 13-3, in a state Class A semifinal at SUNY-Cortland.
Northport (20-1) plays Baldwinsville at 11:30 a.m. Saturday in the championship game.
“The mental part is a really big part of it for us,” said McLam, a junior. “We just needed to come out like we’re on fire.”
The offense stole the show late, but it was the defense that set the tone early. Claire Morris (seven saves) made four stops in the first half as Northport built a 4-0 lead. The senior in her sixth varsity season held Pittsford scoreless until Taylor Sampone’s free position with 2:39 left in the half.
“She sets the tone for the whole team,” Carner said. “I’ve been playing with Claire since third grade, and I just look up to her so much.”
Each team scored in the first four minutes of the second half, but that was the last time Pittsford was within range. Northport finished on an 8-1 run during which Carner and Mackiewicz each scored three times.
Haylee Kuprianchik assisted Isabella Germani with 7:28 remaining for a 13-3 lead, kickstarting running time. Danielle Pavinelli and Ella Cabrera each scored, as Northport used six goal-scorers.
“What’s really special about our team is every single person on our offense, we can count on,” Carner said. “I know if I make a pass to the youngest girl on the team or Danielle [Pavinelli], they’re going to finish the ball. We all are really confident in each other.”
Pittsford (17-3) used an aggressive, ball-hawking defense in the game’s opening minutes, which initially limited Northport’s offensive opportunities. But as the Tigers settled in and got the ball moving, opportunities were there. They had assists on eight goals, a product of quick, crisp passing.
“Once we got our first, second goals in, we were on a roll and we just kept going from there,” Carner said.
Now, it’s on to the state championship game.
“We have worked so hard to get to this point,” McLam said. “We’ve won counties, Long Islands and now we’re here, and we’re just making the most of it. We’ve prepared, and we just played so confidently.”
GIRLS LACROSSE STATE FINALS
Saturday at SUNY Cortland
Mattituck/Southold vs. Bronxville, 9 a.m.
Northport vs. Baldwinsville, 11:30 a.m.
Eastport-South Manor vs. Fayetteville-Manlius, 2 p.m.
Cold Spring Harbor vs. John Jay (Cross River), 4:30 p.m.