Syosset senior Leah Kaufer.

Syosset senior Leah Kaufer. Credit: Dawn McCormick

Leah Kaufer is tired of second place.

The senior has been a part of two Syosset girls lacrosse teams that reached the county final. But as was the case when she first made the varsity team as a freshman, the program only has one county title. Syosset is the top seed in this season's  Nassau Class A playoffs and is determined to change that.

“We’ve been so close every year and I’m confident that we’re going to win this year in counties,” said Kaufer, an attack/midfielder with 39 goals and 15 assists this season. “We’ve been waiting a very long time for this.”

Syosset (9-6) has a bye to the semifinals, where it faces Farmingdale at Adelphi on Tuesday at 6 p.m.

Massapequa, which has won the last three Nassau Class A championships, is the No. 2 seed. Syosset’s lone county title came in 2015.

“We want to bring it back to Syosset,” coach Lauren Lertora said. “It’s been Massapequa or Farmingdale over the last nine years, so let’s bring it back and let’s consider ourselves at Syosset a future powerhouse. I would love that for them.”

“It’s been a one-time thing in the history of the program, so this would mean so much,” Kaufer said. “And even Coach Lertora, she knows it, too. This is our year and my group of seniors, we know it’s our last shot.”

Syosset had three players total at least 50 points this season: Julie Shaughnessy (38 goals, 28 assists), Carly Greenbaum (41 goals, 10 assists) and Kaufer (54 points). Kaufer thinks the balanced offensive approach will help in the postseason.

“On our team, there’s not one superstar and we all work together as a unit so great,” Kaufer said. “We’re very unselfish and everyone looks for each other in our offense and has the ability to score. I feel these qualities have made us stand out this year and we’re all a threat on our team, not just one or two players."

Syosset has more than 10 days between their final regular-season game and first playoff game. Syosset is mixing in some scrimmages against postseason teams in different classifications to stay in game condition. But the team also will have some fun, including an annual Zumba event that serves as a fundraiser for the Sunrise Day Camp.

“It does work on their footwork still,” Lertora said with a laugh. “But it’s nice for them to let loose and enjoy this exciting time. We get one day of fun, the rest is going to be hard work.”

Garden City looking to break a trend

Garden City has created a near unreasonable expectation due to its historic dominance. Garden City has won 15 state titles in 27 years of New York playing a state championship game. But the Trojans have failed to win any of the last four state championship tournaments, the longest stretch over that 27-year span, with their last state title coming in 2017.

Could this year’s Garden City team be the one to break that trend?

Garden City went 15-1 this season while playing one of the toughest schedules in the country. The Trojans lost to Victor, 8-6, in the state Class B final last season after losing 6-5 in six overtimes to Westhampton in the Long Island Class B championship the year before. Garden City is the top seed in the Nassau Class B playoffs this season, led by 48 goals by Kyle Finnell.


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