High School Girls

April 4, 2012

Northeast Girls' Regional Report

by Jonah Rosenblum | LaxMagazine.com

Top Performers

Maddy Acton, Lincoln-Sudbury (Mass.)
Scoring eight goals was a great day in itself, but it was made all the sweeter when goalie Megan Mullin made a late save to seal Lincoln-Sudbury's upset of Westwood (Mass.). Acton's goals fueled the Warriors' comeback, as she scored three goals in a row to tie the score at nine.

Christina Esposito, West Babylon (N.J.)
It might be safe to say that Esposito could head to Evanston, Ill., right now and immediately contribute to the defending NCAA champions, Northwestern. Instead, the Wildcats' commit will relish in her high school days just a little bit longer. She scored five goals against Northport (N.Y.) to help West Babylon defeat the defending Class A state champions.

Annie Heagerty, St. Anthony's (N.Y.)
Heagerty played a key role in the Friars' defeat of Manhasset (N.Y.), scoring six goals. The Georgetown-bound senior was an All-American in 2011, but she doesn't do it alone, as teammates Stephanie Paloscio and Alexis Nicolia pack an additional scoring punch for the Friars.

Games to Watch

West Genesee (N.Y.) at Fayetteville-Manlius (N.Y.)
April 4, 7:30 p.m.
It's a big homestand for Fayetteville-Manlius, which also will take on Skaneateles (N.Y.) and Liverpool (N.Y.) in the next several days. But it starts against West Genesee, which defeated Fayetteville-Manlius three times last season. West Genesee scored at least 18 goals in each of those games and won by a combined score of 54-25.

Christian Brothers Academy (N.J.) at Skaneateles (N.Y.)
April 7, 11 a.m.
The Brothers and Lakers put on a couple of excellent shows last season. Their three games were decided by a combined six goals, with Skaneateles taking the first two and Christian Brothers winning the postseason meeting. Last year's opener required four overtime periods to crown a winner. You can only imagine what will happen this year, as the lacrosse world eagerly awaits its first glimpse at the Brothers, which finished 20-3 last season, including seven straight wins to cap off their state title run.

Wantagh (N.Y.) at Bay Shore (N.Y.)
April 14, 4:15 p.m.
After a 15-4 finish in 2011, are the Marauders for real in 2012? The same could be asked of the Warriors, who finished with an identical record, but lost to some of the region's elite teams. Last year's contest was an instant classic, as the two teams were even at the end of regulation, before Bay Shore (N.Y.) controlled the extra session and won by three.

1. Garden City (N.Y.), 3-0
The Trojans have been as good as advertised thus far, scoring 53 goals in their first three games of the season. After defeating Hewlett (N.Y.) 17-9 in its opener, Garden City topped Calhoun (N.Y.), notching 18 of the game's 19 goals. It was more of the same against Lynbrook (N.Y.), which Garden City defeated 18-3. A Wednesday contest with Long Beach (N.Y.) should challenge Garden City.

2. St. Anthony's (N.Y.), 2-0
The Friars turned heads with their 17-6 win over Manhasset (N.Y.), beating an Indians team by 11 that had out-scored its opponents by a margin of 35-10, which included doubling-up previously undefeated Long Beach (N.Y.)

3. West Genesee (N.Y.), 2-0
So far, so good for the Wildcats, who triumphed by a score of 11-6 in their opener versus Baldwinsville (N.Y). Following its second win, West Genesee hits the road for six straight road contests, though the Wildcats will play just five home games all season long.

4. Farmingdale (N.Y.), 4-0
The Dalers picked up right where they left off last season, out-scoring their first four opponents by a 68-19 margin. Farmingdale has surrendered just nine goals in its last three games. The Dalers have cruised since their 12-10 victory against Wantagh (N.Y.), but might meet another challenge in the form of Penfield (N.Y.).

5. Hauppauge (N.Y.), 4-0
Hauppauge has won each of its first three games by at least five goals, while its defense has looked sharp, surrendering just 15 goals. Defense will be key after the Eagles surrendered 13 goals to Garden City (N.Y.) in their only loss last season. A challenging contest looms as Hauppauge hosts Sayville (N.Y.), which gave Ward Melville (N.Y.) a run for its money earlier this season.

6. Manhasset (N.Y.), 3-1
The Indians' stock dropped a loss to St. Anthony's (N.Y.), but the Friars are still the Friars. Contests against Wantagh (N.Y.) and Farmingdale (N.Y.) will provide Manhasset with further chances to prove itself against elite opposition. In order to win those critical games, the Indians will need to sure up their defense, which surrendered 17 goals to the Friars — the most they allowed in a game since May 2010.

7. Northport (N.Y.), 2-1
The Tigers' road opener didn't go as planned, as they tripped up against West Babylon (N.Y.), 11-8, as Courtney Fortunato was held to just one goal. The Tigers will try to pick up some steam before squaring off against Ward Melville (N.Y.) on April 16.

8. Fayetteville-Manlius (N.Y.), 1-0
After finishing 10-8 last season, Fayetteville-Manlius started its 2012 campaign on the right note, defeating Pittsford (N.Y.) in double-overtime, 10-8. A home contest against West Genesee (N.Y.) provides an addition chance to prove itself against a regional power. Two of the Hornets' final three losses last season came to the Wildcats, with Fayetteville-Manlius never coming within six goals.

9. Westwood (Mass.), 0-1
A 13-12 loss to Lincoln-Sudbury (Mass.) surprised some — it was Westwood's first since June 2010 — but the Wolverines are still the cream of the crop in Massachusetts. It's not yet time to hit the panic button, particularly for a program that has gone 86-2-2 over the past four seasons.

10. West Babylon (N.Y.), 2-3
The Eagles rebounded from tough losses against Bay Shore (N.Y.) and Massapequa (N.Y.) to pick up two straight victories, including an impressive 11-8 victory over Northport (N.Y.). The Eagles wasted no time against the Tigers, jumping out to an early 5-0 lead.

News and Notes

Garden City Dynasty

Syracuse, N.Y., and Portland, N.Y., are 199 miles away from each other, a fortuitous break for No. 1 Garden City (N.Y.) coach Diane Chapman.

As a result of the two cities' proximity, her team was able to attend the Garden City boys' lacrosse team's state championship game in Syracuse last season, which the Trojans lost by one goal to Jamesville-Dewitt (N.Y.), on the same day her team won its second straight championship. Chapman describes an atmosphere of support that surrounds the two elite lacrosse teams from Garden City.

"The boys are very supportive of the girls. They feel very much pride in that both teams have been very successful and done well and that's their friend out there doing something," Chapman said. "It meant a lot to our girls to be able to see their friends. I know it meant a lot to the boys that they had their friends and their fans supporting them. There is a lot of support. They think very highly of each other."

The two teams have good reason to think highly of each other. The girls' team has now won 51 straight games, including two undefeated seasons, while the boys' team has made it to the state championship game in consecutive years. But Chapman said such success was hardly unprecedented, at least on the girls' side. It was very much present when she took over the job, a time so long ago she had difficulty recalling the year.

"They had already had three or four state championships, so taking over a very successful team, a very well-coached team that already had aspirations and goals set very high, that definitely made my job easier because the girls on the team already knew what it felt like to go as far as you possibly can and to be the best you can be," Chapman said. "So, we just continued on with that and the girls buy into the system because they really are very passionate about the sport of lacrosse. They really love what they're doing and they go out every day and they give it their 125 percent."

With the two teams posting a combined 8-0 record thus far this year, more championship trophies could be on their way. But first up, the Trojans have a few obstacles ahead of them, including matches with Long Beach (N.Y.) and Darien (N.Y.).

"(Long Beach hasn't) been in our conference in a while," Chapman said. "We may have met them in class years ago so it's kind of a new team for us so it will be very interesting to see how we do and I think we're ready for them."

Meanwhile, the Trojans had no difficulty dealing with the Blue Wave last season, beating them, 18-5, in Connecticut.

"Darien is always a strong powerhouse, always very athletic and strong and great," Chapman said. "It's always great for us to really work on things that we need to work on and they really push us to play our best which is good for us because that's what we need."

Senior midfielder Catherine Dickinson (Penn) has keyed Garden City in 2012. An All-County selection in 2011 and a two-time Under Armour Underclassmen Team member, Dickinson's skills go well beyond those accolades.

"Catherine Dickinson goes unnoticed a lot," Chapman said. "Her name is out there but she just gets the job done everywhere on the field. She's a true midfield player, she's great on the ground ball, she's great on the offensive end, great on the defensive end. She may not be the one always to notch those goals, but the goals are there because of what she has done to get the ball into our offensive end."

With players like Dickinson, a history of success and multiple championships to defend, the Trojans have a lot to live up to.

"They're more aware of how many in a row and things like that," Chapman said. "There has just been an incredible tradition at Garden City and the girls want to maintain that, so that's how they go in every year that they want to be the team to continue what was set prior to them."

The Pulse of the West Babylon Defense

It only took No. 10 West Babylon (N.Y.) coach Colleen Schmidt one look at Madison Vasquez on the basketball court.

"I saw her play and I said, 'I have to have this girl on my team,'" Schmidt said. "She's just that athletic. The way she moves and her determination, so I pulled her aside and said, 'Listen, I know you've never played before, but you've got to play lacrosse. We need you.'"

Ask and you shall receive. Now, Vasquez's experiences on the basketball court have contributed to her successes on the lacrosse field.

"She just gets it," Schmidt said. "She gets that she has a goal and she's going to do whatever she has to do to accomplish it, and not only that, she's one of the quickest players on our team, so the fact that she's so quick and she has such great stamina that I know that she has the ability to run up and down the whole entire game, making sure one girl doesn't get the ball."

Vasquez's athleticism made her the perfect defender to put on Courtney Fortunato, the lethal weapon from Northport (N.Y.).

"I told her, 'Listen, if Fortunato doesn't touch the ball, that's seven less goals that Northport could have.'" Schmidt said. "Last year, she scored seven goals on us, so our game plan was to not have her touch the ball and then that will take away seven goals.

"This is only her second year playing lacrosse but she's such a good athlete that she just got it. She was determined and she was like, 'Yeah, there's no way she's going to touch the ball. I'm not going to allow it.'"

Vazquez held Fortunato to a single goal on a single shot, Schmidt said, in the Eagles' 11-8 victory. This was against a Northport team that scored 23 goals against West Babylon last season.

"We know Northport so well that we know when they get possession they're going to take it home and they're going to end up scoring," Schmidt said. "So we basically said we have to control the tempo of the game, and we have to control our possession. So if you want that ball on your stick, you just have to go for it."

Defense has been decisive for West Babylon. The Eagles have surrendered nearly 15 goals per game in their losses, while allowing seven goals per game in their two victories.

"[Against] Northport, our defense was communicating and talking," Schmidt said. "It seems so simple, but that's really what won us the game, because they were able to know when to slide, they were able to know when to get a cutter. It's really that they just talked to one another and they trust each other and that was the difference between the Northport game and even the Wantagh game, it was just trusting your teammate and talking to one another."

Portrait of an Upset

There were many upsets during the first couple of weeks of the lacrosse season, but few made more of a sensation than West Babylon's 11-8 defeat of Northport.

"It was a crazy win for us," Schmidt said. "They're No. 1 in the league and we went into the game saying, 'We have nothing to lose in this game, so if we play our hardest, and we have all the heart and we want to win, the game could be in our control.' And the game was definitely in our control the entire time."

Schmidt credited her star attacker Christina Esposito (Northwestern) with an influence that extended beyond her five goals against the Tigers.

"She walked onto that field and she told every single girl on our team that in our mindset today, you have to know that we're beating Northport and there's no question about it," Schmidt said. "You watch her play, that's how she plays all game long. She knows that every single shot she takes counts and every possession she has on her stick is important and she'll do whatever she has to do to go get that ball."

Every possession was important against Northport, which scored 20 or more goals on 11 separate occasions last season. Even when West Babylon jumped out to an early 5-0 lead, Schmidt didn't feel tthe lead was safe.

"When we went to 5-0, I just said the score is 0-0," Schmidt said. "Northport is the team that it can be 10-0 and they can come back and win a game. Every single player on their team is so athletic and has such great talent that we can't give them any opportunities throughout the game."

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