Rain and bothersome mist were constants in Thursday’s Nassau Class A girls lacrosse semifinal, but so was Sophia Cardello.
Massapequa’s freshman goalie made eight saves and watched as her offense opened the second half on a 6-2 run, resulting in a 12-10 win for the top-seeded Chiefs over No. 5 Oceanside at Adelphi’s Motamed Field.
Massapequa will play Thursday’s Syosset-Port Washington winner in the county final June 1 at 6 p.m. at Adelphi.
Usually, inclement weather can be a nuisance for goalies and field players alike, but not for Cardello. She said she thrives in the elements. “I’ve always said to my coaches and my parents that I see the ball better in the rain,” she said. “It gets bigger, looks like a beach ball.”
And yes, she knows people might think that’s against the grain.
“Everyone says that!” she said. “I don’t know, I just see it better.”
Her saves came from in close and in traffic, but she credited defenders Erin Tierney, Kayla Brady, Kerri Radomski, Francesca Lawless and Jessica Day for her success.
The Chiefs answered emphatically after Oceanside’s Kaitlyn Rapp (three goals) tied it at 6. Jackie Gatti scored quickly, and 27 seconds later Moira Callahan (one goal, three assists) found a cutting Cara Scanio (three goals, two assists). Gatti then scored a free position for a 9-6 lead.
Christina McCabe’s goal cut Oceanside’s deficit to 9-7, but freshman Alexa Gentile netted two of her three and Kate Fiola scored to give Massapequa its largest lead, 12-7, with 6:59 remaining.
McCabe was dynamic throughout for Oceanside (9-7), producing a game-high seven points on three goals and four assists.
Oceanside closed the game on a 3-0 run, but Massapequa (10-5) caused a turnover inside the final minute and maintained possession.
Callahan said Cardello and Gentile have been keys all season. They also were crucial in leading Massapequa to a county title last year, when Cardello starred in net as an eighth-grader.
“We are a lot younger, but we do have experience,” Callahan said. “A lot of these young players have been playing since last year and even the year before.”
Given all the rain this spring, Cardello said she’s felt great this season. She said she hopes it rains in the county final, too.
“I can’t see the ball better in the rain,” Gentile joked, “but she’s amazing, so I wouldn’t imagine her not seeing it better.”