The Mount Sinai girls lacrosse team prides itself on stingy defense, so when the offense stepped up in yesterday’s Suffolk III showdown against Bayport-Blue Point, it was a pleasant change of pace for them.
A one-goal halftime lead quickly jumped to a three-score advantage early in the second half, and the host Mustangs handed the Phantoms their first loss of the season, 9-5.
“It’s definitely refreshing,” said Emily Vengilio, one of several standout defenders for Mount Sinai (4-1). “Our offense has struggled to find itself, and they’ve really been working hard on their shooting and spacing and offensive patterns. It’s a breather when you work hard on defense and can rely on the offense like we did today.”
Veronica Venezia matched a season-best with three goals, Meaghan Tyrrell had two goals and three assists, and Camryn Harloff, Rayna Sabella, Leah Nonnenmann and Morgan Mitchell each chipped in a goal in the Mustangs’ efficient effort.
Free position goals by Sabella and Nonnenmann in the first seven minutes of the second half gave Mount Sinai a 5-2 lead. Harloff scored at the first-half buzzer for a 3-2 lead after racing to pick up a loose ball in front of the cage.
After Meghan Pickel scored for the Phantoms with 12:30 remaining in the game, the Mustangs scored three straight, capped by a wrap-around goal from Tyrrell with five minutes to play, and led 9-4.
“I think this was one of our best offensive shows so far,” Tyrrell said. “I think we’re all coming into the mix now, bringing in new players. It’s turning out really nice for us.”
Cassidy Weeks (one goal, two assists) continued to push the pace for the Phantoms (5-1) in the second half, but the stifling Mustangs back line proved difficult to crack.
Vengilio, along with lockdown defenders Haley Dillon and Meaghan Scutaro, kept the pressure off Hannah Van Middelem, who had seven saves and helped stop the Phantoms from coming back in the final 10 minutes.
Of course, the offense was equally as responsible for alleviating the pressure on Van Middelem. Venezia scored the team’s first two goals on assists from Tyrrell less than two minutes apart after the Mustangs were scoreless over the first 13:35, and her teammates kept up the pace from there.
“I set up high and cut down, and Meg’s always there looking for me, so it works out,” Venezia said. “It was a great offensive game for all of us.”
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