The Northport girls lacrosse team had struggled at times this season to play at an ideal tempo, often rushing possessions and taking low-percentage shots. That wasn’t the case on Thursday.
Olivia Carner showed off her elite dodging by scoring four goals and Emerson Cabrera and Danielle Pavinelli each had two, leading the visiting Tigers to a 10-7 win over Smithtown West in Suffolk I.
Scoring 10 goals on 17 shots (16 shots on goal) exemplifies the work the Tigers have done to relax on offense and value the ball.
“I think there was just a point where we had a timeout, we talked to coach [Carol] Rose, and we realized we just have to settle things down,” said Carner, who has 30 goals this season.
“Stay spread out, wait for a layup,” Rose said of her pep talk during the timeout. “Just wait for the best thing, not the first thing. That was basically my whole thing leading up to this game, making sure they had composure.”
Leading 8-4 with 15:11 remaining in the game, Northport was tested when the Bulls scored three unanswered goals, cutting their deficit to 8-7. Janine Suris (four goals, one assist) scored a free position, Ashley Dolan scored cutting through the middle, then Suris scored again to put the pressure on Northport (7-0).
Cabrera responded by winning a key draw, and Northport was able to kill nearly four minutes. Her younger sister, Ella, scored for a 9-7 advantage, then Carner assisted Pavinelli for a 10-7 lead after Smithtown West (4-3) pulled goalkeeper Lilli Burmeister (six saves) to use an extra defender.
Northport also killed roughly five minutes of clock at the end of the first half, right before Cabrera scored with 34.7 seconds left before the break for a 6-3 lead.
“I thought we had a lot of offensive time, which wasn’t happening for us in other games,” Rose said.
Despite being outdrawn 13-7, Northport was able to hang on with its patience and big defensive stands. Claire Morris (six saves) made several key stops when Smithtown West was looking to gain momentum.
“My whole defense played so great today, especially down low,” Morris said. “It’s really the whole defense. It’s not just one person. We’re playing together as a unit.”
One of two undefeated teams in Suffolk I along with Ward Melville (7-0), Northport still is working to find its pace. But the Tigers aren’t in a hurry. They’re just fine with being patient.