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Undefeated

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Mount Sinai’s Sydney Pirreca moves the ball deep into Rocky Point’s zone with Christina Bellissimo at her hip. The Mustangs pulled away with a 10-5 win over the Eagles on May 9 to go undefeated in Division II. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

The Mount Sinai girls’ lacrosse team finished an undefeated, perfect season in Division II with a 10-5 win over Rocky Point Saturday, while also squashing the Eagles’ hopes of a postseason appearance.

Rocky Point led by two early on, but the Mount Sinai Mustangs rallied and continued to answer back until the team took control of the game to earn a first-round bye with a 15-1 overall mark and 14-0 conference showing.

Rocky Point’s Madison Sanchez maintains possession of the ball at Mount Sinai’s Sydney Pirreca checks her, in the Mustangs’ 10-5 win over the Eagles May 9. Photo by Bill Landon
Rocky Point’s Madison Sanchez maintains possession of the ball at Mount Sinai’s Sydney Pirreca checks her, in the Mustangs’ 10-5 win over the Eagles May 9. Photo by Bill Landon

“We lost a nonleague game to St Anthony’s earlier [in the season], and with a playoff loss last season, we’ve only lost two games in the last three years,” Mount Sinai head coach Al Bertolone said. “Right now, there’s a culture that’s developed. They really believe in themselves, they believe in the plan and I’ve got winners in each grade level, so every year, the next group has taken over.”

The Mustangs struck first when senior co-captain Kasey Mitchell found the back of the cage 30 seconds in to get her team on the scoreboard.

Rocky Point freshman Madison Sanchez answered back three minutes later to tie the game at 1-1, and Rocky Point eighth-grader Brianna Carrasquillo scored the next two goals. First, she snagged a rebound off the pipe from a penalty attempt and buried her shot to retake the lead, and fired again five minutes later for the score with an assist from sophomore attack Christina Ferrara, to put her team out in front, 3-1.

“We really should have focused on the ground balls and the draws,” Carrasquillo said. “Our offense was good early on, but we needed to continue that in the second half.”

Mount Sinai’s Pirreca rocketed a shot between the pipes, and freshman attack Meaghan Tyrrell found the back of the cage next to retie the game, 3-3.

Mount Sinai continued to score, and this time, it was senior Jessica Demeo’s turn when she scored off an assist from Mitchell, but the lead didn’t last for long, as Rocky Point’s Brianna Lamereux sent her shot home with 7:57 left in the first to bring the score to 4-4.

Mount Sinai freshman Camryn Harloff answered the call to put her team out front 5-4, and give the team an advantage that would last for the rest of the game.

With 25 seconds left in the half, Mitchell fired a shot from the right side that hit the back of the net and game her team a 6-4 lead heading into the halftime break.

Mount Sinai’s Kasey Mitchell heads up the field around Rocky Point’s Brianna Lamereux in the Mustangs’ 10-5 win over the Eagles on May 9 that gave the team a perfect 14-0 mark in Division II. Photo by Bill Landon
Mount Sinai’s Kasey Mitchell heads up the field around Rocky Point’s Brianna Lamereux in the Mustangs’ 10-5 win over the Eagles on May 9 that gave the team a perfect 14-0 mark in Division II. Photo by Bill Landon

“We knew they were going to play a full 50 minutes — they’re a complete team and it’s no accident that they’re number one in the league,” Rocky Point head coach Dan Spallina said. “They’ve got great leadership; just look at the talent they have up and down their roster.”

Seven minutes into the second half Demeo scored again for her second goal of the game.

According to Rocky Point’s Sanchez, in order to have a chance against a powerhouse like Mount Sinai, her team would had to contain two of the team’s top players.

“We knew about Sydney Pirreca and Kasey Mitchell, and in order to win, we had to stop them,” she said. “But we couldn’t.”

Pirreca hit the scoreboard next off an assist from Tyrrell to surge ahead 8-4 with 12 minutes left to play, and Demeo split the pipes for her hat trick goal, to put her team out front 9-4 with just under 11 minutes left.

“It’s all about team chemistry,” Demeo said. “As good as the players are that we have [individually], the only thing that matters is the team. We do so much together off the lacrosse field and that really makes us better.”

Rocky Point wouldn’t go quietly, and freshman Christina Bellissimo found the net to trim the deficit to 9-5.

Pirreca shot the ball to the back of the cage a final time for a hat trick of her own, and put the game away 10-5.

From there, Mount Sinai burned time off the clock until the game was over. As the No. 1 seed, the Mustangs will open the postseason at home on Wednesday May 20.

Pirreca said her team will continue to do what it’s done all season, which she credits as the reason why her team went undefeated.

“[We] work hard and we work as a team,” she said. “We have a very strong bond between us, our coaches are great and we take it day by day. We only focus on one game at a time, and we never look ahead.”

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