By Bill Landon
Miller Place dominated over visiting Elwood-John Glenn amid light rain Tuesday afternoon. The Panthers outscored their opponent 9-1 after 25 minutes of play in Division II girls’ lacrosse action, and despite the Knights scoring six goals in the second half, Miller Place was able to extinguish the rally and put the game away 17-7 to improve to 8-3 in the league and secure a solid playoff position.
The Panthers spread the scoring around in the first half, but senior Kristin Roberto led the way, as the midfielder and captain scored twice. Attacks Olivia Angelo, Julia Burns, Loren Librizzi and Allison Turturro each found the cage, as did midfielder Danielle Plunkett. The two other co-captains, junior midfielder Arianna Esposito and senior midfielder Alyssa Parrella, also split the pipes to dominate the game early.
Senior captain Amelia Biancardi scored the lone goal of the first half for the Knights 12 minutes into the contest.
To combat the deficit, Elwood-John Glenn head coach Janine Bright made a change in her team’s strategy for the second half. Bright said she knew Miller Place was a formidable opponent and that her team would have to fight from whistle to whistle for any chance of winning.
“We have to play a full 25 minute half — not just show up for six minutes in the first half, seven minutes in the second half — we have to play the entire game with full intensity from start to finish,” Bright said. “If we did that, today’s score could’ve been very different.”
Parrella opened the second half by lighting up the scoreboard with two quick goals — the first off an assist by Plunkett and then a solo shot for her hat trick goal, putting her team out front 11-1.
Miller Place head coach Thomas Carro said the leadership from his team’s captains is the reason for the team’s success this season.
“I think we’re peaking at the right time, and the girls are firing on all cylinders right now,” Carro said. “Their positive attitude on and off the field is just contagious. The girls are starting to believe in themselves and as a result of that, they can play with anybody this season.”
Biancardi, from a free position shot, scored again to make it a nine-point game with 16:03 left to play, but Parrella, unassisted, buried another one two minutes later to reopen the gap. Biancardi answered back at the 11:45 mark with a hat trick goal of her own, to bring the score to 12-3.
“In previous years, we’ve played them closer, but they played amazing today,” Biancardi said. “They have so much speed on that team and you could see the difference.”
After another Panthers goal, Biancardi struck again after circling the cage and slipping an underhand shot in for the score. On the Knights’ next possession, Biancardi fed the ball to Madisyn Hausch, who found the net as momentum began to shift.
“[The Knights] have a couple of really good players who are not afraid to take it to cage,” Roberto said. “We had to step up and put pressure on them because they can score. We couldn’t take them lightly at all.”
Victoria Tsangaris drove one home from the free position, followed by Hausch’s second goal a minute later, to shave the Panthers’ lead to 13-7, but the Panthers capped off the game by scoring four more goals.
“Early on they were beating us to the ball, so we had to step it up — they came at us strong,” Parrella said. “Everyone’s fighting to make playoffs and we knew that if we played our game we’d come out on top.”