A big question mark hovered around this game, as the topic of discussion amongst lacrosse enthusiasts remained, “Will Belle Smith suite up for the 1st String King Game of the Week?” For Westhampton, they spent the week quietly going about their business, preparing for a Top 5 team in the nation. To Westhampton, it was just another conference game. During warm-ups it was evident, Westhampton’s star Belle Smith would remain sidelined due to a high ankle sprain. In Belle’s absence, the Hurricanes would turn to cousin Holly Schleicher and super Sophomore Maureen Duffy’s to pick up for the missing piece.
For Mt. Sinai, any early season home field contest against a very good Westhampton team would not be taken lightly. Warm-ups consisted of constant movement, precision passing, coaching, and focus. You can tell Mount Sinai has high hopes for the season ahead, but they by no means look too far into the future.
From the opening whistle, the circle was an absolute battle. No ground ball was earned without a contest. Both teams committed to the importance of earning a possession at all costs. Sinai took an early three goal lead thanks to goals by the ‘orange’ women Jenny Markey and Emma Tyrrell. Gabby Sartori contributed in the first half with a big goal on a low angle free position shot. She made a great move underneath and snuck one top corner to the near pipe. Similar to ground balls, getting inside the eight meter in this game was a challenge. Neither team allowed their opponent to simply get into the eight. In order to get near the net, you were going to be swarmed, bumped, bruised, and mostly likely left on the ground.
After Sartori put Sinai up three, Head Coach Mary Bergman called a timeout. This TO proved to be the turning point for Westhampton Beach. The Hurricanes quickly settled in, started churning out longer and more deliberate possessions, and finally found themselves on the scoreboard. Maureen Duffy got the Canes going to make it a 3-1 game. Mt. Sinai got a quick one back after Tyrrell cashed in with her second on the day. With about thirty seconds left on the clock in the first, Mt. Sinai had the ball on their defensive end. Westhampton applied a balanced, pressure-packed ride that got them a crucial possession. With time winding down, Holly Schleicher got the rock and attacked the goal. She drew a free position, and cashed in before getting knocked to the ground. This free position goal gave Westhampton momentum going into the half and high hopes for staying in the game.
After a scoreless beginning to the second half, Holly Schleicher stepped up again, scoring with 17:00 left in the game. Holly made a great cut off-ball, caught a feed with her defender on her back, turned to her left and fired a shot past Lamparter. The score now 4-3 Mustangs. With 9 minutes remaining, Markey got a free position from top center and stuck it, giving Mount Sinai a two goal cushion. With a little over two minutes remaining, Maureen Duffy had a 1 on 0 with Lamperter, the result, an unbelievable kick save. However, the rebound bounced below goal line extended where Giana Murphy picked up a tough ground ball, made a great look inside back to Duffy for a quick shot and goal.
After Duffy made it a one goal game, Westhampton couldn’t get another one to go, leaving the Mustangs on top, securing a tough win in the 1st String King Game of the Week.
This team is tough! The Hurricanes impressed by being proficient in so many categories. In goal, Taylor Gallarello made 10 huge saves, with five in the first and five in the 2nd half. Taylor was also 56% on free position shots, outstanding! Maureen Duffy is a sophomore sensation. With the absence of Belle Smith, she came up big. Scoring 2 goals, including a big one with about two minutes left on the clock. Maureen is a do it all midfielder who isn’t scared of the big moment. Hollie Schleicher came to play in the first SK Game of the Week. With two huge goals, five draw controls, and three tough ground balls, Hollie had significant production despite being locked and doubled on the offensive end. Attacker, Giana Murphy did a great job securing ground balls in the offensive half, and putting pressure on a tough Mt. Sinai defense. Also, captian Lindsay Rongo was an enforcer on the defensive end. Westhampton is very organized in the ride and clearing game. They maintain tremendous spacing and put necessary pressure to create crucial turnovers. Coach Mary Bergman has this team playing at a very high level even though it’s still early in the season. As the Canes get healthy, gain game experience, and continue to execute, watch out! They should continue to bring the storm anytime they step on the field.
Mt. Sinai Analysis
Everything about how Mt. Sinai goes about their business is collegiate. They prepare, warm-up, compete, and recover like a college program. They plan their work, they work their plan. Going into yesterday’s game, Mt. Sinai only got together 8 times as a team. Their young, but talented, team looked like a ‘masterpiece in progress.’ There is no doubt they are going to be a different squad by the end of the season. Yesterday, their one, two combination of Markey and Tyrrell was eye-opening. Those two athletes have a presence on the field unlike many on the island. Their rare combination of speed, skill, IQ, and effort make them key cogs in a machine that is Mt. Sinai girls lacrosse. Mt. Sinai’s defense is led by sophomore stopper, Emily Lamparter. Catherine Robles really stood out as a feisty defender that is fearless. Her future college teammate at LIU Post, Kelly Johnston also impressed with her great on-ball defense. On attack, Mt. Sinai has a great lefty, righty combination in Morgan Mitchell and Gabby Sartori. If Mitchell can become more consistent in her shooting percentage, expect Sinai to put of double digit numbers on offense. As Sartori starts to embrace her new role as starting lefty attacker, she’ll start to pick up her production as well. Filling the shoes of Meg Tyrrell is no easy task. However, Sartori has a really good nose for the goal and is a tremendous 1v1 attacker. She should do just fine. Overall, Sinai is the team to beat in Suffolk Class C. As this young team grows, matures, and experiences the highs and lows of Suffolk lax, expect them to be competing for it all come playoff time.