Out to make a statement, the Northport girls lacrosse team couldn’t be denied.
Entering play tied with Riverhead atop the Suffolk I standings, Northport put on a clinic in all three phases of the game. The offense, led by Danielle Pavinelli’s seven goals and Kaylie Mackiewicz’s five, was efficient. The defense, led by Chloe Hoschel, was stingy.
And the work of Pavinelli and Olivia Carner on the draws tied it together. Northport cruised to an 18-6 win on Wednesday afternoon, taking sole possession of first place at 9-1. Middle Country and Ward Melville are a half-game behind after moving to 8-1 with wins of their own.
“This is definitely a huge statement for us,” Hoschel said. “We want to go all the way and no team is going to get in the way of that.”
Riverhead’s Ava Lily Sumwalt opened the scoring, but Northport answered with the next three. Kayla Kielbasa cut the score to 3-2 for Riverhead (8-2) on an assist from Chrissy Thomas (three goals), and it seemed as if the Blue Waves were building momentum.
That’s when Pavinelli took control in the circle. She helped Northport score the next six goals — all by different players — to take a 9-2 lead at halftime. Pavinelli then added the first two goals of the second half for an 11-2 lead.
Twelve minutes later, Mackiewicz scored twice within 28 seconds for a 15-6 lead. Pavinelli’s sixth goal came less than a minute later and kick-started the running clock with 10:17 remaining.
“After a loss to Smithtown East, we really wanted to put ourselves back on top and show that we’re the team to beat,” said Pavinelli, referencing Northport’s 11-5 loss on April 6. Northport was without Carner due to an ankle injury that game.
Since her return on April 12 against Middle Country, Northport has gone 4-0 and outscored opponents 54-20.
As the offense dominated possession, the defense was able to catch its breath and prepare for Riverhead’s transition attempts. Hoschel and goalkeeper Claire Morris (four saves) helped “hold down the fort for us,” Pavinelli said.
“I was getting overloaded on my side,” said Hoschel, who added that backer Lindsay Lindvall helped alleviate the pressure. “I was getting two, maybe even three. Bella Hubbard, she helped me out a lot. Caroline Fitzgerald did a great job on the other side.”
After losing to West Islip in last spring’s Suffolk Class A final, Northport appears primed for a run. There are several teams vying for the county crown, but right now, Northport stands alone at the top.