CORTLAND, N.Y. -- The 2014 season will go down as a memorable one for West Islip girls lacrosse, even if it wasn't perfect.
A season in which the Lions earned the program's first Suffolk and Long Island championships came to an end yesterday afternoon in the state title game.
West Islip fell to West Genesee, 15-10, in the Class A final at SUNY Cortland, marking the team's first loss of the season.
While the ending was bittersweet, it did nothing to overshadow the team's accomplishments in 2014.
"We made history in our town," said sophomore Vanessa Costantino, who had three goals and one assist. "Losing in states is not what we wanted, but we made it this far and I couldn't be more proud to play on a team with them. It's really been a pleasure and an honor."
"We accomplished many of our goals," West Islip coach Joe Nicolosi said. "We played until the end. We got off to a slow start [but] we came back, we battled. It just didn't fall our way today."
West Islip (21-1) trailed 3-0 14:50 into the first half before scoring three unanswered goals. West Genesee (20-1), which is ranked ninth in the country according to LaxPower, took a 5-4 lead into the half before beginning the second half on a 6-2 run.
The Lions cut the score to 11-8 with 10:09 left, but a 4-0 run for West Genesee put the game out of reach.
Sophomore Lena Riportella scored a game-high five goals for West Islip; senior Hannah Elmer led West Genesee with four goals and five assists.
"I'm really proud," said Lions senior Lindsay Darrell, who scored a goal to bring her team-leading season point tally to 82. "I love every single one of the girls on my team. I know that we had a fantastic season, it's just very disappointing to end like this."
"These are girls I'm never going to forget," said fellow senior Riley Hill, who had a goal and an assist to finish the season with 80 points. "We had something special and we showed it throughout our season."
"They're phenomenal kids," Nicolosi said of his senior class, which also included starters Shannon McFadden, Grace Davidson, Kiera Kelly and Caitlin Cosentino. "They've been in this program for several years and they deserve to do what they did this year."
Looking ahead to next year, West Islip should once again be a force.
In addition to Costantino and Riportella, fellow starters Emily Beier, Emily Piciullo, Kaitlyn Viviano and Courtney Salatto will all be returning with more experience under their belts.
"It's a learning experience," Nicolosi said of his team's time at states. "We can build from this."
Costantino said, "[The loss] stings but we'll be back. That's all you can think, to work harder from this."
For all West Islip's players, returning and graduating alike, they will be able to look back on 2014 with pride.
"I'm so proud of every single one of us," said Darrell, "and I can't wait to look back and just think we did make history."
In time, the one loss will give way to memories of the 21 wins, county and Island titles, and unprecedented success that made West Islip's season truly unforgettable.