Perhaps the key ingredient in a national championship lacrosse team is a little Long Island flavor, and Northwestern continues to come back for extra helpings.
West Babylon senior Christina Esposito signed her national letter of intent to play lacrosse for Northwestern Wednesday. She was one of hundreds of local high school students who put a signature to their college commitments on national signing day.
Esposito, an All-American, committed verbally last November, but seeing Northwestern win the Division I women's championship in May cemented her decision. "That's my school," she said. "I felt a lot of pride knowing I'd be going there."
Having the signing out of the way "is a relief for students," Esposito said, "and now you can finish your senior year with that off your shoulders."
The Wildcats' roster featured nine Long Islanders last season, including West Babylon alum Shannon Smith, who received the Tewaaraton Award as the nation's top player.
Esposito said the familiar faces on the team "creates a level of comfort" and is indicative of Long Island's status as a "lacrosse hotbed."
The midfielder is expected to have an immediate impact for the Wildcats. Freshmen Alyssa Leonard (Bay Shore) and Kara Mupo (Rocky Point) were key players in the championship run.
"Everyone is so proud of Christina," West Babylon coach Colleen Kilgus said. "The best team in the country wants kids from our area. Seeing that, other players know they have a chance and it makes them want to work harder."
Some other notable girls lacrosse signings: Halle Majorana (Manhasset) signed to Maryland. Hauppauge teammates Stephanie Peragallo and Taylor Ranftle signed to Notre Dame and Virginia, respectively. Garden City’s Alexandra Bruno and Catherine Dickinson signed to Princeton and UPenn, respectively. Paige Bonomi (Northport), Amanda Johansen (North Shore) and Caroline deLyra are headed to USC.