Sayville's Loghan McNamara celebrates her team’s win in the Class...

Sayville's Loghan McNamara celebrates her team’s win in the Class C final at the state girls lacrosse championships in Cortland on Saturday, June 8, 2024. Sayville claimed the Class C title with a 9-5 win over Rye. Credit: Adrian Kraus

CORTLAND — After winning the program’s first Long Island championship and its first state semifinal game, it only made sense for the Sayville girls lacrosse team to finish out their season with another first.

The Golden Flashes defeated Rye, 9-5, on Saturday at SUNY Cortland in the state Class C championship, bringing home their first state crown in program history and securing an undefeated season (21-0).

“I can’t put this feeling into words,” Sayville coach Gary Jensen said. “It may take a couple of weeks. I’ve told them over and over again how proud I am of them. We’ve come a long way and they deserve this”

Speaking of firsts, after starting the Sayville girls lacrosse program in 1998 and coaching there until 2012, it was Jensen’s first year back. The players describe having him as the “missing piece” they’ve needed to get to this point.

“Our new coaching staff has been a game-changer,” sophomore midfielder Sophia Buffardi said. “They got us to believe that we could be here today.”

Buffardi sparked a second-quarter surge as Sayville led 7-2 at halftime after a 2-2 tie at the end of the first quarter. Two minutes into the second quarter, Buffardi’s free-position goal made it 3-2. Buffardi scored four of her five goals in the second quarter alone to help Sayville pull away from Section I's Rye (19-4).

“We started out a little slow, but that’s usually how games go for us,” Buffardi said. “Once we started to win draws and pick up on those fast breaks, we started gaining momentum and that just kept going throughout the rest of the game."

Jensen said it's always a total team effort. 

"Their success comes from them believing in each other and trusting each other,” Jensen said. “We work really diligently on sharing the ball and allowing every player to be equally as lethal. If they try to do it individually, none of this would happen. So could Buffardi have done what she did today without this group? Absolutely not.”

Jenna Messina finished with three goals and goalkeeper Julia Lilienthal made seven critical saves for the Golden Flashes.

“Julia has been amazing,” Buffardi said. “She saves our butt every game, and she deserves all the recognition because she is so hardworking.”

With eight graduating seniors, Jensen credits the team's successful run to their leadership.

“I owe it to the senior leadership,” Jensen said. “Those are the kids that bought in and led by example, and this is the product they get at the end.”

Senior captain Mckenna Farrell describes this season as the perfect way to close her Sayville lacrosse career. 

“Perfect team, perfect season,” Farrell said. “It’s bittersweet, but it couldn’t have ended in a more perfect way.”

After being a part of so many firsts, Farrell knows that it certainly won’t be the last for Sayville, and she’s excited to watch the underclassmen carry on this new legacy.

“Coming to states is such an incredible thing, and for the freshmen and sophomores who were a part of this today, this is going to become their normal,” Farrell said. “This sets the standard for us moving forward, and I have no doubt that they’ll be back here next year.”
 

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