St. AnthonyÕs wins the CHSAA Division AA girls lacrosse final...

St. AnthonyÕs wins the CHSAA Division AA girls lacrosse final at Adelphi University on Thursday, May 23, 2024. Credit: Peter Frutkoff

It didn’t need to be said. Everybody in the room was on the same page.

This year’s St. Anthony’s girls lacrosse team had expectations that would seem unrealistic by 99.9% of programs across America. But for the Friars, the goals perfectly matched their elite talent.

St. Anthony’s completed a 19-0 season and finished as the No. 1-ranked girls lacrosse team in multiple high school girls lacrosse polls this spring.

“Our senior class knew we didn’t want to leave any parts of our story unfinished,” said Tess Calabria, a North Carolina commit who finished second on Long Island in total points (114) with 75 goals and 39 assists. “There’s just no better way to go out.”

The Friars dominated even with one of the toughest schedules in the nation. The bulk of their non-league schedule was filled with nationally ranked-programs from surrounding states and other parts of New York along with playing some of the top public schools on Long Island. Despite that, they never allowed double-digit goals in any contest and won by an average of 8.8 goals per game.

“I knew the senior class this year was something really special and the amount of talent we had was unmatched,” said Amanda Paci, a senior defender committed to Duke. “Everyone was completely locked in and wanted the same thing and we were going to do whatever it took.”

The players and coaches said they never verbally discussed a perfect season and No. 1 ranking in the country with coach Darcy Messina simply saying, “I believe what’s understood doesn’t need to be explained.”

The players agreed and focused on each individual opponent. It culminated with the Friars capturing their fifth straight state CHSAA Class AA championship with a 13-6 win over Sacred Heart on May 23 at Adelphi to complete the undefeated season.

“Everyone wants a perfect season,” Paci said. “But I thought we could do it if we really put the work into it. I know everyone had an idea of it but we never really spoke of it. Our motto was just focus on the next game, the next game is the most important game of the season and I think that really went a long way.”

The combination of Calabria, Brooke Long (32 goals, 22 assists) and Megan Kenny (33 goals, 12 assists) led the Friars’ offense with Division I talent up and down the roster. Goalie Lexi Zenk allowed  just 3.9 goals per game to anchor arguably the best defensive unit in the country.

“Our program is not like any other,” Calabria said. “We can do a full 24-person scrimmage just with our team and everyone on the field is a Division I commit and having that opportunity to play at that high of a level every day, there was just no better way to prepare us for the competition we played.”

In the end, it was the recipe for a perfect season and one of the most dominant girls lacrosse high school seasons in Long Island history.

“To go undefeated and finish No. 1 in the rankings in every poll, it’s certainly a combination of catching lightning in a bottle to put together such a special season,” Messina said. “The stars were aligned and the girls were beyond grateful that each game we accomplished and won, we were closer to doing what everybody knew we wanted to do.”

But it wasn’t until the team’s banquet that the magnitude of the season truly set in. A perfect season. Dominant offensive and defensive performances in each game and somehow elevating one of the top program’s in the country in recent years to new heights.

“We said, ‘This is something nobody in this room is ever going to forget,” Paci said.

“I’ve been playing with a lot of these girls since I was younger,” Calabria said, “so being able to have the opportunity to play some of the best teams in the country and go out undefeated and No. 1 in the country, it was just the icing on the cake. It was the best way to end my senior year.”

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