The Northport Lady Tiger lacrosse team continues to put up football-like numbers on the scoreboard, as they steamroll over all comers thus far, two weeks into the 2023 young season.
Northport’s latest road apple were visitors from Nassau County, the Long Beach Lady Bulldogs. The final score was 17-7. The Lady Tigers have outscored their opponents 65-23 in four games this year, all easy wins, and look every bit the team that won the Long Island Championship last year, despite graduating a minibus-load of 2022 All-American and All-State caliber players.
Junior Attacker Julia Huxtable had three goals and four assists and was orchestrating the offense masterfully from behind the net, as she and her teammates circled around hapless Long Beach goalkeeper Emily Backlin like a swarm of hungry buzzards. Versatile attacker/defender Kennedy Radziul was constantly moving without the ball to find cracks in the Bulldog defense, and she scored four goals and had two assists. Radziul also shared faceoff duties with Grace McCarthy and the duo won 61% at the X. Senior Sniper Haleigh Greenberg had three goals and two assists and despite losing highly prolific players like Kaylie Mackiewicz (All-American), Ella Cabrera (All-American), Isabella Germani (All-American) and Shannon Smith (All-New York State), who combined for 204 goals last year, she is loving the chemistry of this 2023 version of the team.
“Northport has always been lucky to find girls who can play well and score year after year,” Greenberg said. “Even with those All-Americans having graduated, we know how to play as a team, and with everyone contributing the way they are, it makes us such a strong team.”
Northport was strong in this one, right from the opening whistle as Greenberg and Huxtable combined for five big ones in the first nine minutes as the Lady Tigers took a 10-4 lead into halftime. Radziul netted the last two of those ten.
On the other end, Northport goalkeeper Meghan Morris stood tall in net, making a number of acrobatic saves to frustrate Long Beach when they were able to penetrate in deep. However, the Lady Tiger defense was stingy in granting this access as back-liners Casey Koenig, Mary Breckling, Leah Riccardi and Haleigh’s sister Emma, a freshman, kept Bulldog scoring chances to a minimum, hound-dogging Long Beach into a multitude of turnovers and subsequent ground ball recoveries for Northport.
“Our defense is strong and physical, and we’re able to get a lot of the loose balls,” Emma Greenberg said, “When a ball hits the ground, it’s really just a matter of who wants it more and a defensive unit, we pride ourselves on getting those balls.”
Northport won 69% of the ground balls on Saturday, and they have hovered around that number all year so far.
The second half of the game more of the same with Northport holding leads of eight, nine or 10 for much of the game. Radziul scored two early in the second half, and junior midfielder Christina Lauro scored on her birthday to make the score 16-6 with just over six minutes remaining in the game. Haleigh Greenberg closed out the scoring for the Lady Tigers with a minute to go, as Huxtable assisted.
“Hux is a great player, and she has great field vision and instincts,” Haleigh said. “She is such a good player, one of the best teammates I’ve ever had and something about her as a person, that when she scores or makes a great play, it gives the whole team a boost of energy. She just has that way about her and we love her for it.”
Huxtable is humbled by this.
“It feels amazing to know my teammates think of me in this way,” said the junior Huxtable, who has 69 career points in two-plus season as a Lady Tiger. “I’m always working hard to be the best teammate that I can possibly be, and I’m glad that I can make a positive impact on and off the field.”