Ward Melville's Grace Mulham (22) moves the ball in the...

Ward Melville's Grace Mulham (22) moves the ball in the fourth quarter during the Suffolk Class A girls lacrosse final between Ward Melville and Northport on Friday May 24, 2024. Credit: Bob Sorensen

The entire Ward Melville girls lacrosse team stood at the edge of its bench, waiting for coach Stephanie Peragallo to finish her postgame handshakes.

After about 10 seconds, Peragallo turned around — with no idea of what to expect next. The Patriots' third-year coach was met with a celebratory waterfall of ice-cold water from the team’s Gatorade jug, a realization that the program's county title drought was now erased.

“It was a symbol of all of our hard work,” senior attack Grace Mulham said. “We could finally celebrate.”

No. 1 Ward Melville controlled the majority of Friday’s Suffolk Class A championship game against No. 3 Northport, leading for the final 28:42 of its 8-4 victory at West Islip High School.

“Before the game, we talked about it,” Peragallo said. “Like we’ve been there, we’ve tried, we’ve tried again, we’ve tried again. I have 11 seniors on this team that have been here before and we’ve never had this ceremony at the end. So I think that was the driving force behind everything we did today.”

Mulham had two goals and an assist, midfielder Aliya Leonard scored two fourth-quarter goals and midfielder Mia Pirozzi and attack Kate Spinks each had a goal and an assist for Ward Melville (16-3), which earned its first county title since 2007.

The Patriots will meet the winner of Tuesday’s game between Massapequa and Farmingdale in the Long Island championship on June 1 at Longwood High School.

Attack Riley Cash’s first of two goals gave Northport (15-4) a 1-0 lead 34 seconds in. But that would be the Tigers’ only lead. The score was tied at 2 after one quarter, and the Patriots took a 4-2 lead at halftime after Mulham’s second goal and an unassisted goal by MJ Timpanaro.

With 9:10 left in the third quarter, Spinks scored off feed from Mulham to give the Patriots a 5-2 lead.

“I just really wanted to win, anything to get it done,” said Mulham, a Princeton commit and fourth-year varsity player. “We were all supporting each other. If one girl was open, we just tried to hit her in the middle. We were just working as a unit offensively.”

Ward Melville goalie Ava Carrillo, a fourth-year starter and VCU commit, made six saves, including two clutch fourth-quarter stops.

“Definitely, in my senior year, it feels so much better,” Carrillo said. “Sometimes you might have another year, you can keep playing. But this year, finally… we had to get it done.”


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