Tags Posts tagged with "Champions"


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Members of the Stony Brook women’s lacrosse team hold up four fingers to signify the four straight America East championships the team has won. Photo from SBU

Freshman Kasey Mitchell scored a free-position goal as time expired to lift the Stony Brook women’s lacrosse team to a 10-9 victory over the University at Albany and its fourth-consecutive America East championship Sunday afternoon at LaValle Stadium. With the win — the 14th-straight for Stony Brook — the Seawolves improve to 16-3, while the Great Danes drop to 11-6.

Courtney Murphy scored four goals on the afternoon to give her 95 on the year, three back of the Division I single-season record set in 1984. Junior Dorrien Van Dyke added four goals and an assist, while sophomore Kylie Ohlmiller chipped in a goal and three assists.
Murphy was named championship Most Outstanding Player and was joined by Mitchell, Van Dyke and sophomore Samantha DiSalvo on the all-championship team.

Kasey Mitchell attempts a shot at the cage for Stony Brook. Photo from SBU
Kasey Mitchell attempts a shot at the cage for Stony Brook. Photo from SBU

The Seawolves trailed 9-8 with 90 seconds remaining before junior Courtney Murphy tied the game with 1:23 to play. Senior Alyssa Fleming caused an Albany turnover with 39 seconds to go, and following a Stony Brook timeout, Mitchell won it at the buzzer.

Junior Kristin Yevoli tallied five draw controls and freshman Keri McCarthy added four. Freshman Anna Tesoriero made five saves between the pipes.

Fleming had two caused turnovers, including the crucial one in the final minute, along with a ground ball.

Stony Brook improves to 4-1 all-time in America East Championship finals.
The Seawolves allowed more than seven goals in a game for just the third time this season.
However, Stony Brook is 2-1 in those games.

Stony Brook improves to 48-5 at LaValle Stadium since 2012. Associate head coach Caitlin Defliese captured her eighth career America East title Sunday. Defliese has won the last four conference championships as part of the Stony Brook staff and won four straight as a player at Boston University from 2007-10. Murphy broke the America East record for goals in a single season with her first tally of the day, passing the mark of 91 set by Defliese’s Boston University teammate, Sarah Dalton.

The women’s team will open the NCAA Championship in Massachusetts, with a game at Boston College on May 13 at a time to be announced.

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Rocky Point varsity wrestling team placed first in the Suffolk County Dual Meet Championship. Photo from Rocky Point school district

Rocky Point High School’s varsity wrestling team recently earned another high honor when the team captured the League V Tournament Championship.

On back-to-back weekends, the team shone on the mats to earn two consecutive regional titles. During the League V tournament, 12 Rocky Point All-League wrestlers competed and four of them captured the championship. In addition, the entire coaching staff received coach of the year honors.

The team then captured a first-place win at the Suffolk County dual-meet championship. 

Facing off against the top teams in the county, the top seeded Eagles captured a win during the quarter-final match against No. 8-seeded Half Hollow Hills East, competed against No. 5-seeded Lindenhurst and clinched their championship title by defeating No. 3-seeded Hauppauge, 38-33.

Katie Reilly goes to the rim. Photo by Bill Landon
Katie Reilly goes to the rim. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Needing a win to earn a share of the League III championship title, the Huntington girls’ basketball team took care of business Tuesday night, defeating Smithtown East on the road, 63-50. It was senior night for the Bulls, who were able to close within 11 points late, before falling to the Blue Devils.

Huntington sophomore Alex Heuwetter had the hot hand early, scoring seven points, while teammate Anna Gulizio, a junior, added six to put their team out front 21-9 after eight minutes of play.

Having trouble scoring from the paint, Smithtown East unleashed its 3-point game, with juniors Tori Redmond, Jordi DeBernardo and Alex Schultz netting treys in the second quarter. But Huntington answered back with four 3-pointers of its own, two of which were by senior guard Katie Reilly, propelling the Blue Devils to a 40-24 advantage to open the second half.

“They came out with a lot of passion, especially on a night like this, so we should’ve taken them more seriously,” Reilly said. “I thought we played pretty good, but I think we could’ve played stronger defensively. All in all, we did all right.”

Battling the boards all night for the Bulls was Nina DeStefano, who rebounded several missed shots for putbacks. DeBernardo nailed her second trifecta of the game as Smithtown East outscored Huntington 13-12 after eight minutes, to trail 52-37 heading into the final quarter.

Nina DeStefano fights for possession under the board. Photo by Bill Landon
Nina DeStefano fights for possession under the board. Photo by Bill Landon

Huntington senior Brooke Baade sparked the offense with a field goal and her third 3-pointer of the game, and Heuwetter banked a pair of field goals to put a stop to the Bull’s late-game surge.

Schultz swished a pair of 3-pointers late and DeStefano netted two field goals, but it was too little too late for Smithtown East, as Huntington took the win to finish 12-1 in League III, and tie Riverhead for a share of the league title.

“I knew that they were going to be tough,” DeStefano said. “They’re in first place in our league for a reason. It was a struggle under the boards because they have a lot of good rebounders.”

Schultz led her team in scoring with 15 points, while DeStefano followed close behind with 12 and Redmond tacked on 10.

“Nina DeStefano had an outstanding game for us on senior night, Tatiana Jean did a great job rebounding the ball and Ceili Williams, our sophomore point guard, had one of the best games she’s had for us, and sky’s the limit for her,” Smithtown East head coach Tom Vulin said. “So as a team, we played well together. We cut the deficit to 11 so a couple of turnovers here and there could’ve made it closer.”

Atop the leaderboard for Huntington was Heuwetter with 16 points, Reilly netted 14 and Baade banked 11.

Anna Gulizio drives to the rim. Photo by Bill Landon
Anna Gulizio drives to the rim. Photo by Bill Landon

“They’re a tough team — they’re in third place in our conference and they have a lot of good shooters,” Heuwetter said. “Our defense could’ve been better. They were popping threes like crazy.”

Clinching a playoff berth the week before, No. 19 Smithtown East opened the postseason with an out-bracket game against No. 14 Hauppauge, but results were not available by press time.

“Because of all the snow, our playoff season starts tomorrow, so we’ll know sometime tomorrow morning who we’ll face,” Vulin said following the loss. “I’ll get as much information as I can and we’ll go after it.”

Heuwetter said her team suffered a bitter defeat deep into the playoffs last year, so the Blue Devils are looking for a comeback performance heading into this year’s postseason. Huntington goes into the postseason as the No. 6 seed, and will host No. 11 Half Hollow Hills West on Friday at 5 p.m.

“We really want it,” she said. “Last year we went deep into the playoffs, but we were really upset that we couldn’t get farther, so we’ll use last years’ playoff defeat as motivation to get as far as we can this year.”

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Greg Giordano races through the paint into traffic. Photo by Desirée Keegan

It was four years ago that Mike Agostino took over at the helm of the Smithtown West boys’ basketball team, and since then, the team has come full circle.

In 2012, in the Bulls’ last League III game of the season, they traveled to Riverhead to duke it out for the conference title, where Riverhead pulled away with a one-point win, 72-71.

This time, the Bulls, at 10-1 heading into Tuesday’s contest, handily outscored the Blue Waves 64-38 to seal sole possession of the League III title. It was the first time Smithtown West had achieved that feat since 1968, according to Agostino.

“I’m so grateful,” he said. “Winning the league title is almost as good as winning the county championship, because the county title is a result of a tournament, but this you have to play 14 games. Everyone knows us, everyone knows our starters and our bench guys, everyone scouts you, so to be able to win a league championship is so special.”

Nick Grande drives the baseline for a field goal. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Nick Grande drives the baseline for a field goal. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Both teams were slow to start, but Smithtown West junior Greg Giordano kept the Bulls in the game with a free throw at 5:32 to tie it 1-1, and followed it up with a 3-pointer at the 4:54 mark to knot the game at 4-4.

From there, the Bulls charged ahead with senior Matt English knocking in a layup and Giordano netting another trifecta. Seconds later, senior Nick Grande swiveled around defenders as he jumped up to face the rim and tacked on a field goal, to help his team to an 11-4 advantage.

“We came a long way since our first loss in the first of the season against Copiague,” said English, who finished with 10 points and a team-high 11 rebounds. “We’ve really come together. We’re playing like a family.”

Riverhead tacked on a field goal of its own to close the gap to 11-6 after the first eight minutes of play. In the second stanza, Riverhead scored a free-throw point at 3:59 to bring the score to 18-10, and the Bulls held the Blue Waves scoreless until 15.6 seconds, where Riverhead swished a 3-pointer. In that time though, the Bulls tacked on 12 points, and used fouls to keep their opponent at bay, with Riverhead coming up scoreless from the charity stripe at three different appearances.

“We came out firing and we held them to 13 points in the first half, which is tremendous for our defense,” said Smithtown West junior Kyle LaGuardia, who finished with two field goals and seven rebounds.

The Bulls ran away with the game in the third, outscoring Riverhead 22-10.

Smithtown West sophomore Chris Crespo, who finished with a game-high 14 points, five assists and five rebounds, opened the final quarter with a three-pointer, and scored two points off a 1-and-1 opportunity minutes later, to help his team to a 30-point lead, 57-27.

“This is my second year on varsity and I didn’t know it would take off this fast,” Crespo said. “Last year we were alright, but it feels great to see such a big improvement at such a fast pace this year.”

With 4:04 left to play, Agostino called a timeout after a Riverhead travel call, to swap out his starters. Over the next four minutes, Riverhead outscored Smithtown West 11-3, but the Bulls’ bench kept its commanding defense in tact, stealing passes and grabbing rebounds.

Chris Crespo leaps up to the rim. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Chris Crespo leaps up to the rim. Photo by Desirée Keegan

“We played typical Smithtown West basketball,” Agostino said. “We were strong inside, we defended, we took care of the ball and that’s what we said was going to be the key — not only stopping them, but getting the rebound and being able to get it out cleanly without losing it.”

Agostino said he still feels like his team has room to grow, though.

“I don’t feel like we’ve reached our full potential,” he said. “I know that there are kids in that locker room who haven’t played as well as they’re capable of playing, and it’s my responsibility to get them to that point. I’m happy with the way they are right now, and I told them the nostalgic part is really sweet, but once we start practice tomorrow, it’s over.”

The head coach credits his seniors for shaping the team this season, adding that they’re focused on competing, and don’t stop until the buzzer sounds.

That winning mentality is trickling down, the players said, but the Bulls still credited their coach for helping them achieve greater and greater success with each passing season.

“He’s a great leader — knows how to play the game right,” English said. “In the beginning of the season, our first goal was to win the league title and the second goal was to make some damage in the playoffs. We’ve got the first one done, and now it’s onto the next.”

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Elijah Riley lunges for extra yards . File photo by Bill Landon

The Newfield football team continues to make history.

The Wolverines were named Suffolk County’s top team last Monday, earning the Rutgers Trophy at the Suffolk County Football Coaches Association banquet at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Hauppauge. But that wasn’t the only award the team walked away with.

SNewfield senior defensive lineman Dylyn Ferrari sacks the Deer Park quarterback in the Wolverines' 54-6 Division II qualifying round win over Deer Park on Nov. 6. Photo by Bill Landon
SNewfield senior defensive lineman Dylyn Ferrari sacks the Deer Park quarterback in the Wolverines’ 54-6 Division II qualifying round win over Deer Park on Nov. 6. Photo by Bill Landon

To continue a season of firsts, as the school recorded a 12-0 record, including three shutouts, for the greatest season in Newfield’s 58-year history, senior halfback Elijah Riley became the first Newfield player to garner the 54th Carl A. Hansen Award, presented to Suffolk’s top player.

The 6-foot, 200-pound star rushed for 1,012 yards and scored a school-record 31 touchdowns. He finished with 1,934 all-purpose yards.

Riley also earned the school’s first Tom Cassese Award, presented to the top defensive back, after allowing only three pass receptions and recording three interceptions, two forced fumbles and 66 tackles, 45 of which were solo.

Defensive end Dylan Ferrari earned the fifth annual Rob Burnett Award, given to Suffolk’s top defensive player. Despite suffering a broken left thumb when he fell midway through the fourth quarter of a 31-7 win over North Babylon in the Suffolk County Division II semifinal, Ferrari played through the pain in the final two games of his high school career with a soft protective glove around his hand.

Ferrari finished the season with 71 tackles, including 32 solo tackles, and 18 for a loss of yards. The 6-foot, 1-inch, 236-point, two-way starter forced many botched throws and turnovers as a result. He also recorded a team-high 11 sacks and two forced fumbles.

Jelani Greene makes a diving catch. File photo by Bill Landon
Jelani Greene makes a diving catch for Newfield football. File photo by Bill Landon

Senior Jelani Greene recorded another first, winning the National Football Foundation Award, given to Suffolk’s top wide receiver.

Steven Hoynacky, a standout on special teams, was awarded the Tom Cutinella Memorial Scholarship Award, named in honor of the former Shoreham-Wading River player who died after an on-field collision in 2014.

Like Cutinella, the tight end and defensive end was not only a quality player on the team, but excelled in leadership, character and academics. He is treasurer of the school’s National Honor Society and maintains a 92 GPA.

Although not winning an award, Newfield’s record-breaking senior quarterback Ryan Klemm passed for 31 touchdowns this season.

The Wolverines set a Suffolk record for points scored in a season with 518. The team beat Half Hollow Hills West 58-34 to capture the Suffolk Division II title. A week later, the Wolverines earned the school’s second Long Island Class II championship with a 41-33 win over MacArthur. Newfield earned 27 first-place votes to earn the Rutgers Trophy, and totaled 120 points to edge runner-up Sayville, which had 19 first-place votes and 108 points. Shoreham-Wading River was third with 46 points.

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Huntington’s 4x400 relay state championship team. Photo from Huntington athletics

Head coach Ron Wilson knows he has a good squad, but is it good enough to successfully defend the Suffolk Division II title that the Blue Devil boys’ winter track and field team captured last year?

The winter campaign is now underway and knowing that Huntington has one of the top indoor track teams on Long Island brings a smile to the face of the veteran coach.

The Blue Devils feature returning 4×400-meter relay state champions Infinite Tucker, Exzayvian Crowell, Kyree Johnson and Lawrence Leake. The Fantastic Four also won league, county, Long Island and LI Millrose Games titles.

Huntington boasts a roster that has talent and depth in just about every event this winter.

“Our strength in terms of quality and balance, however, lies in that of our sprinters and jumpers,” Wilson said. Juniors Johnson and Leake are two of Suffolk’s best sprinters.

Newcomer Kei Ron Byrams is expected to make an immediate splash with his speed and athleticism. “He should definitely help,” Wilson said of the junior.

“We graduated a great cast of throwers last year in Matteo McNeil and Jimmie Nelson,” Wilson said. “But we have a few throwers that will definitely draw some attention this year. Seniors Michael Lonergan, Amaru Jones, Vernon Alexander and Tasean Betts earned All-League honors during the spring season and should really be competitive this year.”

Sophomore strongmen Clay Jamison and Sam Bergman are two more throwers expected to be competitive this winter. Bergman was runner-up in the Suffolk freshmen shot put championship.

“Our distance program has shown a steady improvement,” Wilson said. Seniors Kyle O’Brien and Tom Kopstein earned All-League honors last spring and should be a factor this year. Joining the distance crew during the indoor season is junior Shane McGuire, who exploded on the scene last spring with a string of sensational performances, including All-League, All-County and All-State honors.

“He just finished an exciting cross country season and should do well this winter,” Wilson said.

Senior Mitch Rudish and junior Mark Rafuse were alternates on last winter’s 4×400 relay team and are set to take a big step forward this season.

The roster includes a bunch of newcomers to the sport and the school.

“With a bit of luck and good health, we should do well,” Wilson said. “We are a fairly balanced team this year, with a pretty solid lineup.”

Seniors Tucker and Crowell will contend in the 55 hurdles, among other events. Joining them will be sophomores Brian Pierre and Luke Eidle. Pierre won the freshman class of the 400 intermediate hurdles and took second place in the 110 high hurdles last spring. Sophomores Nick Sanin and Will Vollack were competitive last winter and should improve this year.

“We will look to advance several of our athletes to the state championship this year,” Wilson said.

Huntington has won two consecutive league titles, but this year’s competition is expected to be especially fierce.

“This year the pressure will be on,” Wilson said. “It’s always difficult to defend your championship title. There are a number of great teams in our league, including Smithtown East, North Babylon, West Islip, Half Hollow Hills West, West Babylon, Deer Park, Bellport, Eastport-South Manor and East Islip. These teams boast some outstanding athletes.”

The Blue Devil have carved out a national reputation during recent winter and spring seasons.

“Our top returning athletes are determined to compete at a high level and those who are joining us this season for the first time will look to make a name for themselves as well,” Wilson said.

Huntington is again set to travel to some of the most prestigious high school meets in the country this winter, including the Dartmouth Relays in New Hampshire, the Rhode Island Classic and to the new facility on Staten Island for a showdown with some of the best athletes from New York City and New Jersey.

“We know and understand that our road to a championship is going to be a difficult one,” Wilson said. “However, our boys have never backed down to a challenge.”

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The Port Jefferson Royals celebrate winning the New York State Class C soccer championship for the first time in program history. Photo by Andrew Wakefield

By Desirée Keegan

“Strong alone. Unstoppable together.” — that was the Port Jefferson girls’ soccer team’s motto this season and with unfinished business, the Royals rode a perfect season in League VII to their second consecutive Suffolk County and Long Island titles, and brought home the state crown for the first time in program history.

“Our goal was to get back up there,” Port Jefferson head coach Allyson Wolff said of taking another shot at New York, after the Royals fell in the state finals last year. “They just showed how when they play like a team, the goals they can accomplish — they did that this year. They were unstoppable.”

The Royals were looking to avoid another devastating defeat on the state stage when their journey started on Saturday in the semifinals, where Port Jefferson topped Caledonia-Mumford, 4-1.

Junior forward Clare O’Connor and sophomore forward Grace Swords each tallied a goal and junior forward Jillian Colucci added an assist, but most impressive was the team’s new member, junior forward Brittany Fazin, who scored twice.

“She was definitely a great addition,” Wolff said. “The connection she made with the girls was nice to see; the chemistry was there.”

Sophomore goalkeeper Brianna Scarda made 10 saves in the win against Caledonia-Mumford.

After coming close to a goal several times against Elmira’s Notre Dame High School in the finals the next day, Colucci assisted the first score of the game when she crossed the ball to O’Connor, who knocked it in from the front left corner of the net to give her team the early advantage.

The two have been playing together since first grade, and the connection showed.

“Because we’ve been playing together for so long, we know where each other is on the field, and we find each other a lot and set each other up the whole season,” O’Connor said. “It’s a bond you can’t find anywhere else.”

Fazin scored next with a shot to the top right corner, and Colucci and O’Connor connected for the final goal of the season, when Colucci headed in O’Connor’s corner kick.

“The atmosphere was a little different because, with our first time up there, we didn’t know what to expect,” O’Connor said. “This year, our fans really brought the energy.”

Notre Dame’s only goal came off a penalty kick after the Royals’ second goal, and Scarda finished with four saves.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” Wolff said. “I’m still in awe. You could see the girls’ confidence rise even more from last year to this year.”

This soccer season was a stellar one for the Port Jefferson girls, as they went undefeated in their league for the third time in four years. On the road to the finals, the girls had tasted only victory since early September — when they lost two nonleague matches — and they were not about to let that change.

Most of their victories in the regular season were shutouts, and they scored five or more goals in the majority of those wins. In the three league games in which they allowed their opponents to score, they still won by at least three goals — they were on fire and earned the top seed heading into the postseason.

The Royals had given up only nine goals in the regular season, and kept that number steady in the regional finals, where they earned a 3-0 shutout against Cold Spring’s Haldane High School.

The action in the state soccer semifinals and finals over the weekend brought the number of goals scored against them to 11 — as compared to the 78 goals they scored this season from start to finish.

O’Connor said it was a result of improvements on both sides of the field.

“It started with the defense — we had our friend Katie [Connolly] go to the back, and she kept our team together for a lot of the season and she stopped a lot of goals from going in,” she said. “We also had a new addition to our team, Brittany [Fazin], and she helped us score a lot of goals too, so it was a little of both.”

As was the case for the team all year, the girls were slow to start in both state games, but once they got the ball rolling, it didn’t stop.

“That seemed to be the running theme this year — it created a domino effect that sparked the offense,” Wolff said. “Brianna [Scarda] also had a great season in goal — the way she communicated with the girls and the way they respected her.”

Using its motto, the team showed how strong they were not only alone, but together, and that togetherness helped them get all the way to the top.

“It’s kind of cool to see each season how much a girl has progressed and how it shapes the team,” O’Connor said. “Our motto came from the U.S. women’s soccer team after its run to the World Cup this summer. We thought it was fitting for us, because we wanted this to be our winning season, and it was.”

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The Ward Melville field hockey team poses for a group photo after claiming the Long Island Class A championship. Photo by Bruce Larrabee

The Ward Melville field hockey team blanked Massapequa 5-0 to win the Long Island Class A title Sunday at Dowling College’s athletic complex.

Sophomore forward Kerri Thornton started off the scoring five minutes into the game, and junior forward Kassidy Rogers-Healion tacked on four second-half goals to propel the Patriots to the win.

Ward Melville will face Shenendehowa in a Class A state semifinal Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at Maine-Endwell High in Endwell, a suburb of Binghamton.

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Back row: Chris Gordon, Jon Castellano, Mackenzie Gordon, Liam Stamm-Walsh, Matt De Libero, Kyle Cassidy, Stephen Lydon, Scotty Matovich, Derek Sager, Sean Gordon, Zach Restucci, Henry Amster and Fred Musumeci; front row: Nick Musumeci, Liam Gordon, Matt Peterson after winning the 18U Wood Bat Division championship. Missing from the team photo are Nick Pisano and Dan DaCastro. Photo from Chris Gordon

The Three Village Pirates 18U Wood Bat Division baseball team ended the regular season on a hot streak and used that momentum to best the No. 1-ranked team, Elite, 2-1, in the championship game on Aug. 10.

“I’m really proud of all of these guys,” co-coach Chris Gordon said. “This was a great season for our seniors to finish with before going off to college. Many have been playing together since they were 8 or 9 years old. They couldn’t have written a better ending to our season.”

After finishing the regular season 12-8, and ending on a three-game winning streak, the Pirates topped the Patchogue-Medford Raiders, 3-1, in the second round of playoffs after earning the first-round bye as the No. 2 seed.

In a tightly contested matchup, the Three Village team edged out the New York Nationals Central Select team, 2-1, to earn a spot in the championship game.

The Pirates had lost to Elite twice during the regular season, 5-4 and 6-1, and came into the matchup as the underdog, being a local team made up of 16- to 18-year-old Three Village athletes and one player from Port Jefferson Station, while Elite was a travel team made up of players from around the Island.

The Pirates’ No. 1 pitcher, Zach Restucci, had pitched just a few days earlier and was only able to give the team a couple of innings if needed, so the team elected to start Sean Gordon, who gave up just one run over 5 2/3 innings and struck out four while his strong pitching also led to nine ground-ball outs. Four of those groundouts went to shortstop Steven Lydon, four went to second baseman Liam Gordon and the final rolled back to the mound.

The team was also without one of its top players in Liam Stamm-Walsh, who had  foot surgery midway through the season but was on the sidelines of every playoff game in a walking boot to cheer on his team.

Neither team showed much offensively through the first three innings, and Elite threatened in the bottom of the fourth with two outs and the go-ahead run on second base.

With a high-flying ball coming his way, centerfielder Matt Peterson dove to catch what would have been a run scoring, extra-base hit, to end the inning and give the Pirates a much-needed momentum booster heading into the top of the fifth.

In that inning, Derek Sager hit a double and moved the third on a wild pitch. Sean Gordon hit a single up the middle, just out of the reach of the second baseman, to score Sager, and after the side was retired, Elite went down quietly in the bottom of the fifth, to leave the Pirates with the 1-0 lead.

The ball was flying again for Three Village in the top of the sixth, when Mackenzie Gordon lined a single to right field with one out and moved to second base when the pitcher threw a wild pick-off attempt to first base.

Up to bat next, Restucci hit a bouncer up the middle that the second baseman was unable to keep a hold of, and as the ball deflected off his glove into short center, Mackenzie Gordon hustled around third and scored the would-be game-winning run.

Elite rallied in the bottom of the sixth to load the bases and score a run after Sean Gordon struck out the first two batters. The Pirates brought out Restucci to end the threat, and a ground ball to Lydon ended the inning.

The Pirates went down one-two-three in the top of the seventh, and Restucci returned to the mound, striking out the final two batters he faced to earn the save.

“This was a great team win,”co- coach Fred Musumeci said. “The guys got on a roll to end the regular season and we kept that momentum right through the championship game. This is a great feeling to win against this team. It’s very sweet.”

Isabella Nelin and Isabella Petriello pose for a photo with their lacrosse sticks at the Brine National Lacrosse Classic. Photo from Anthony Petriello

Both girls made the team, again.

And although Isabella Petriello and Isabella Nelin were not able to help the Long Island sophomores defend the Brine National Lacrosse Classic championship title the girls won as freshmen, they’re just happy to be able to continue to play the sport they love.

“Lacrosse is my passion — it’s really taken over my whole life,” Petriello said. ”It’s helped me not only to be a better athlete, but it’s helped me with everything. With my time management skills, my ability to focus, to accept failure, and to just keep working hard.”

The athletes, both defenders, continued to work hard at the lacrosse classic in Midlothian, Virginia, outscoring much of the competition despite an early loss, and cruised to the semifinals, where the team fell to would-be champion Pennsylvania, 8-4.

“It was a great experience,” Petriello said. “It was an honor to get the chance to play with such talented girls that share the same passion as me.”

Nelin’s mother, Karen, was just proud of her daughter for making the team for a second year in a row, and is proud of what her daughter has been able to accomplish since she first joined the sport in the seventh grade.

“I feel like Bella can definitely get the job done,” Karen Nelin said. “I have such confidence in her. She’s a fast runner, she’s very tall, and she’s also good when her teammate needs help to slide. She’s a voice out there. Even when the offense has the ball, she’s out there encouraging them, and is confident and supportive.”

Petriello said the loss pushed her to want to do bigger and better things in the future.

“You go into it expecting the things that you did last year because you’ve been working so hard, and it definitely was hard, I wont lie, but failure and losing are a part of being successful,” she said. “When I don’t reach my goal the way I want to, that’s what I use to light my fire. It helps me keep fighting to get to where I want to be in life.”

And Isabella Petriello’s father, Anthony, said his daughter has some things you simply can’t teach.

“She has that grit, that desire and that heart every single time she goes out there,” he said. “That gives her the ability to help her teammates and do the things that she needs to do on the field, along with her teammates, to get the job done.”

Although Isabella Petriello has been involved in the sport longer than Isabella Nelin, both have been named strong players. Petriello uses more aggression, while Nelin likes to be more tactical.

The defenders play for the Long Island Top Guns travel team, but Petriello picked up the sport when she was in second grade, playing for the Brookhaven Town team before playing for Miller Place.

“She lives and breathes lacrosse for her ultimate goal of playing at the college level,” Anthony Petriello said, adding that his daughter plays volleyball for the school team, as well as in a Middle Country school district lacrosse league on Thursday evenings. “What a reward for parents to see their child succeed in anything in life.”

Nelin, on the other hand, picked up a lacrosse stick for the first time in seventh grade after her friends tried to get her to join.

“I was a little rusty at first, but I’d go over their house and ask them to please throw and catch with me,” she said, laughing. “Even when we don’t even plan on practicing, we end up grabbing sticks and going outside and having a pass. Once you start playing the sport, you don’t stop. I feel like I always have a stick in my hand.”

Although she started later, Nelin has trained with many coaches, including local defender Shanna Brady of Smithtown, who played for St. Anthony’s and currently plays for NCAA tournament-winning University of Maryland. Nelin also plays varsity lacrosse for Ward Melville.

The girls like the team aspect of defense, and work well together on the field.

“We both know where the other one is on the field at all times and know what the other person will do, and it makes it a lot easier,” Petriello said. “[Isabella Nelin] is always pushing herself and, especially me and others, to be better,” she said.

Nelin is also comfortable working alongside her Long Island teammate.

“The coaches don’t know us, so when they ask who wants to start on defense, we both stand next to each other and try to raise our hands at the same time,” Nelin said, laughing. “We both want to get on the field at the same time. I can trust her when she says she has my right and tells me to force a player somewhere so we can double-team her.”

And Brine’s Long Island team’s coach Megan McCormack, noticed the girls’ chemistry quickly.

“They were both very talkative, very aggressive,” she said. “They worked well with one another and meshed well with the other girls on the team.”

Nelin is excited to see where the future will take her.

“Lacrosse really means a lot to me,” she said. “I feel like it’s my future. I’d love to play in college and it’s helped me meet a bunch of new people. It’s opened new doors for me; I’ve traveled to a bunch of different states and it’s just been amazing. I feel like it’s the best decision I’ve ever made.”

McCormack believes that Nelin and Petriello’s futures will be bright.

“You can see and pick up on that chemistry right away,” she said. “I knew that they felt comfortable with one another. They knew what each other did well and what each other needed, whether or not they should push one another, so I thought they really complemented each other well. I know they both had successful lacrosse careers ahead of them.”