By Clayton Collier
After serving as an integral part of the Middle Country girls’ lacrosse team that went undefeated in the regular season, Christine Gironda will continue her playing career at Iona College.
The 6-foot 1-inch All-County defender said Iona was an easy choice for her.
“Everybody always talks about the feeling they get and after visiting so many schools,” she said. “I didn’t get it until I went to Iona. Everything from the coaching staff, players, campus, academics and atmosphere made my decision very easy.”
Michael Gironda, Christine’s father, said the location is perfect for all parties.
“We’re really proud of her,” he said. “And it’s great because it’s far enough where she feels she is away, but close enough where we can still make her games, or even do her laundry.”
For Middle Country head coach Lindsay Dolson, she said she is happy for her senior, but also sorry to see her go.
“She’s been taking the draw for us for the past three years,” she said. “We don’t have anyone near her height coming up, so it’ll definitely be a big miss.”
Gironda’s father said he originally thought soccer would end up being his daughter’s primary sport, but, eventually, she began to gravitate more toward lacrosse. Because Gironda became fully committed to lacrosse later in her high school career, her father said he believes the best is yet to come.
“Because she started so late, I honestly feel her best lacrosse is in front of her,” he said. “She hasn’t peaked; she has more upside.”
Also as a result of joining lacrosse later on, Iona did not get a look at Gironda until the Under Armour All-American tryouts, where she caught the eye of head coach Michelle Mason. It was there that they invited her to practice at the program’s camp, where Mason said Gironda shined.
“She just crushed it,” Mason said. “She just kept getting better throughout the whole day; like every drill we ran, she was picking it up really quick.”
Now that Gironda is committed to attend Iona in the fall, Mason said she will look to get her new player involved in a variety of roles, including potentially moving the Middle Country product to the midfield position.
“I think she’s got a great finish to her shot and her decision making and lacrosse IQ are great,” she said. “There’s a really good foundation for us to build on.”
Mason said she hopes to increase the aggression of Gironda on the field come this fall.
“If we could get her to be a little more aggressive and not as much of a gentle giant, then I think she could be a real dominant force on offense for sure,” she said. “She has a lot of intangibles that really set her apart.”
Gironda listed her aggression as one of her biggest improvements over the course of a banner year for the Mad Dogs in which the lacrosse program made it to the Suffolk Class A finals, falling in double- overtime to West Islip, 11-10.
Overall, Dolson said it was the senior leadership of Gironda — as well as fellow seniors Nikki Ortega, Ashley Miller, Serena Ruggiero and Alison Dipaola — that proved to be crucial in putting together as successful of a season as they did.
“This group has been dedicated and hardworking in and outside the classroom, on the field,” she said. “They really bring everyone together on the field.”
As for Gironda, although she said it will be hard to leave her second family behind, she is excited for the opportunity ahead at Iona.
“A new chapter is always so bitter sweet,” she said. “I will miss this team so much, but will always have these memories. I am so excited to go on this new journey and now I will get to experience two amazing teams.”