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Samantha Filippi scores winner for ESM in girls lacrosse

Eastport South Manor's Samantha Filippi celebrates hitting the

Eastport South Manor's Samantha Filippi celebrates hitting the game winner during a girls lacrosse game where ESM defeated Darien (Conn.), 10-9, at Cold Spring Harbor High School on April 27, 2019. Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

Samantha Filippi had virtually no angle to shoot from after her inside roll positioned her for the last shot of regulation.

With time ticking away, Filippi ripped a laser from a few meters away that found the back of the net just between the goalkeeper and the left pipe. Starting from behind the cage with 12.5 seconds left following a timeout, Filippi did it all herself and scored with 3.6 seconds to go.

The junior’s only goal was the most important goal of the game, as the Eastport-South Manor girls lacrosse team defeated Darien (Connecticut), 10-9, Saturday afternoon at Cold Spring Harbor in the Gains for Brains Lacrosse Showcase to benefit the Making Headway Foundation.

“I just did what I had to do,” Filippi said. “Took a tough angle shot and hoped for the best.”

ESM coach Becky Thorn said Filippi executed the play as it was drawn up. With offensive stalwarts Kasey Choma and Ellie Masera out beyond the 12-meter arc, it was up to Filippi to make it happen herself.

“We just kind of matched up to see who was where, and she ended up being the one with the ball,” Thorn said. “We basically had a 3-v-2 down low. If we cleared out those two elbow girls, it would clear out the space for Sammy.”

ESM (10-1) led 7-2 at halftime before Darien scored the first six goals of the second half for an 8-7 lead. Darien faceguarded Choma in the first half, allowing Masera to score five times. In the second half, Darien faceguarded both Choma and Masera, and the ESM offense initially struggled to adjust.

But with 8:30 left, Choma broke free of her defender and scored off an assist from Marisa Tancredi, tying the game at 8. Darien went ahead 9-8 with 5:51 remaining, and Choma again netted the equalizer on a rip into the upper-left corner a few minutes later.

“She always comes through for us,” Masera said. “I’ve literally never played with a better player than her.”

Darien defeated Garden City earlier this season, 19-4, and plays Manhasset on Thursday. Both Garden City and Manhasset are Class B competition in Nassau that ESM — one of the top Suffolk Class B teams — needs to keep an eye on.

Filippi made sure ESM took care of Darien in style.

“I told her, ‘There’s no pressure, just place the shot,’ ” Thorn said.

Filippi didn’t feel the pressure, saying it was something she’s practiced often. Even though it was a tough angle, she buried the shot.

“I do that a lot in practice,” she said. “I guess it was finally put to good use in this game.”

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