West Islip's Francesca Tofano, right, is defended by Victor's Ryann...

West Islip's Francesca Tofano, right, is defended by Victor's Ryann Savage during a Class B semifinal at the NYSPHSAA Girls Lacrosse Championships in Cortland, N.Y., Friday, June 7, 2024. West Islip's season came to an end with an 11-10 loss to Victor-V. Credit: Adrian Kraus

CORTLAND — Although the West Islip girls lacrosse team fell short of their goal of winning a state championship, their success story is far from over.

“I think our next few years are going to be solid,” coach Joe Nicolosi said after West Islip's 11-10 loss to two-time defending state champion Victor in a state Class B semifinal Friday at SUNY Cortland. “They’re just going to get bigger, better and stronger.”

With just three graduating seniors and the majority of their starters being underclassmen, the future certainly looks bright for West Islip. The present almost looked as if it would extend another game after a late rally. Midfielder Francesca Tofano scored all four of her goals in the fourth quarter, the last one cutting it to 11-10 with 20 seconds left. West Islip had one last chance to tie it, but a shot went wide as time expired. 

Six days after earning its first Long Island championship since 2018 with a stunning win over powerhouse Garden City, West Islip found itself in an early hole against another powerhouse. Victor (Section V) showed its championship status early, scoring the game's first six goals and leading 7-2 at halftime. 

West Islip eighth-grader Carly Obloj scored twice in the third quarter to help the Lions close the gap to 8-4. There was a sense of urgency at the start of the fourth quarter. 

“We kind of just knew it was now or never,” Tofano said. “We wanted to fight for what we had left, and we wanted to give it our all with no regrets.”

They took advantage of every second.

It started with a shot from sophomore Ava Obloj, Carly's sister, to make it 8-5. Victor scored twice to restore a five-goal lead, but West Islip wasn't done as it found the net five times over the final six minutes. Tofano led the charge. 

“She’s a grinder,” Nicolosi said. “She gets it done, and she has that attitude where if she wants to win, she’ll do anything she has to in order to win.”

Carly Obloj had three goals, Ava Obloj had two and Tofano added an assist for West Islip (12-6). 

Devin Livingston scored five goals for Victor (18-3).

Tofano says that this season has been about proving themselves. Even when everyone doubted them, they showed that they were able to compete with some of the most elite programs. After last season's 15-6 loss to Garden City in the Long Island final, West Islip scored a 9-7 win this year. And they were right there with a chance to take Victor to overtime. 

“We wanted to fight back and make a statement,” Tofano said of Friday's rally. “We want to show that West Islip is the program that everyone should be talking about, and we shouldn’t be overlooked.”

Next year, the Lions won't be surprising anyone. 

“This is just a taste of what we have coming in the future,” said Tofano, a sophomore. “We want to come back even stronger, and we’ll use this day as a reminder.”

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