Ward Melville midfield MJ Timpanaro heads towards the Northport net on...

Ward Melville midfield MJ Timpanaro heads towards the Northport net on Tuesday, May 7, 2024. Credit: George A Faella

There was no way of avoiding the fact that this meant significantly more than your typical regular-season game. Both Ward Melville and Northport entered with identical league records and the game’s result would play a key role in potentially elevating one team to the top seed entering the Suffolk Class A playoffs, with the loser potentially falling as far as the fourth seed.

“We try our best to take every game seriously but there’s always a little fire in our bellies when it’s Northport because they are just such a great team,” Ward Melville coach Stephanie Peragallo said. “They’ve won the last [four] county championships, so it’s something that we want to get after and try to prove to ourselves, more than anyone else, that we can hang with the best teams in the county.”

It didn’t take long for Ward Melville to prove just that. The Patriots scored the game’s first four goals en route to a 12-8 home victory over Northport in Suffolk Division I girls lacrosse on Tuesday. Ward Melville spoke as a team pregame about the importance of getting off to a fast start.

“I think that was the most important part of the game,” said MJ Timpanaro, who had three goals and seven draw controls. “You have to come out strong and keep up a good pace and that’s how you win. And that’s what we did today.”

Ward Melville improved to 12-1 and Northport fell to 11-2 in Division I. Elsewhere on Tuesday, Floyd handed Commack its first Suffolk Division I loss of the season in a 14-6 contest behind seven goals from Kayla Gilmore. After that result, Commack is also 12-1 and Floyd is 11-2.  The four teams have one more regular-season game before the Suffolk Class A playoffs.

Ava Simonton added three goals of her own and Kate Spinks scored two for Ward Melville, which had seven different goal scores. Five different Patriots scored Ward Melville's first five goals.

“That’s a great part of our team and I think we are a really unique team with that,” Spinks said. “Everyone is good, everyone can score and not every team has that.”

“If one girl can’t get the job done, the next one will,” Timpanaro added. “And that’s how our team works.”

It’s also exactly how Peragallo wants to see her lineup, which is filled with Division I talent, play together.

“I love that and that’s something that we’ve been working towards as long as I’ve been here as the coach,” Peragallo said. “You don’t want to be a one-trick pony, so the way we try to run our offense is if they take away one opportunity then it opens up somebody else.”

Ward Melville opened a 10-4 lead at halftime before Northport cut the score to 10-6 entering the fourth quarter. But Simonton and Timpanaro scored less than two minutes apart to take a 12-6 lead with 9:30 left in the fourth quarter.

Emilia Retzlaff added a goal, an assist and five draw controls and Aliya Leonard had a goal and four draw controls. Kate Atkinson had three goals for Northport.

Ward Melville has lost only three division games over the last three years. But the Patriots are still seeking their first Suffolk Class A title over that span. They have arguably the most talented senior class on Long Island this season, and those seniors hope to leave their legacy at the school.

“We have a big senior class and this is our last chance to do it and get the county championship and get to states,” Spinks said. “We’re really motivated and really excited because the last couple years, we haven’t been so lucky. But we’re working hard for that every day.”


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