Ward Melville faced elimination, but a second half explosion led by Courtney Quinn kept the Patriots’ season alive.
Quinn had two goals and two assists Saturday in No. 2 Ward Melville’s 12-7 home win over No. 3 Floyd in the semifinals of the Suffolk Class A girls lacrosse playoffs.
“We knew we were so close to counties and we didn’t want our season to end,” Quinn said. “We wanted to see each other at practice tomorrow.”
After Jillian Gironda tied the score at 5 at the start of the second half, Quinn gave Ward Melville the lead with 22:47 remaining.
The Patriots soon led 8-5, but Floyd’s Kayla Gilmore scored on two consecutive free-position shots to make it a one-goal game with 15:06 left.
Then Ward Melville scored four unanswered goals to close out the game. Quinn scored the 10th goal and assisted Grace Balocca on the next, marking Quinn’s second assist to Balocca.
“When the defense shifts out to our wing, I know Grace is going to be open,” Quinn said. “She always calls for the ball and I know she’ll always finish.”
“I trust that whether she’s going to the goal or if she’s going to pass to me, Courtney will make the right decision,” said Balocca, who scored three goals.
Ward Melville trailed by two after Tara DiMaio scored her third goal for Floyd (14-4) with 5:51 remaining in the first half. The Patriots called timeout and emphasized winning the hustle plays to get back on track.
“In the first half, they were getting the groundballs and winning the draws,” coach Stephanie Peragallo said. “Once we turned those around, everything else started to fall into place.”
Ava Simonton scored on a free-position shot to make it 4-3 with 3:47 left in the first half. 13 seconds later, Grace Mulham wrapped around the net and scored to tie the score at 4.
“We were doing our second breaks and they were playing Gironda very tight, so I just went for it,” Mulham said.
In Peragallo’s first year as Ward Melville’s coach, the Patriots advance to the Suffolk Class A final for the first time since 2013.
“When I implemented my systems, they completely bought in,” Peragallo said. “Everything I tell them to do, they do it to the best of their abilities and that’s what makes the difference.”
Ward Melville (17-1) will face No. 1 Northport in the final at Newfield at 3 p.m. on Wednesday. Northport defeated Ward Melville 9-8 on May 3.
“We’re peaking at the right time right now,” Quinn said. “I think we just have to be confident going in and we’ll have to stay poised.”