Northeast Girls' Regional Report (May 30)
by Jonah Rosenblum | LaxMagazine.com
Anne Heagerty, St. Anthony's (N.Y.)
Brynn Gasparino, Darien (Conn.)
Madison Acton, Lincoln-Sudbury (Mass.)
Games to Watch
Farmingdale (N.Y.) vs. Massapequa (N.Y.) – May
Ward Melville (N.Y.) vs. Bay Shore (N.Y.) – May
31, 8 p.m.
Wellesley (Mass.) at Westwood (Mass.) – May 31, 6
1. St. Anthony's (N.Y.), 16-1
The Friars were good to the very last drop, as St. Anthony's topped Sacred Heart Academy (N.Y.), 19-12, to win its fifth straight Nassau-Suffolk CHSAA Class AA title. Leading by just two goals at intermission, the Friars doubled up on the Spartans in the second half. Talk about pounding your point home; this marks the fifth straight time St. Anthony's has beaten Sacred Heart for the CHSAA title after the Spartans downed the Friars, 15-13, in the 2007 title game. It is clear that the Friars are heads above the rest of their conference, and the rest of the Empire State. Their only loss this season came to Bryn Mawr (Md.).
2. Farmingdale (N.Y.), 16-1
Give the Dalers credit: They have come back strong from a troubling 12-6 defeat to Manhasset (N.Y.). Having won 12 straight to start the season, including a majestic 13-12 upset of Garden City (N.Y.), Farmingdale had high expectations, and that loss to Manhasset could have crushed such expectations. Instead, the Dalers have come back tougher than ever. They beat Massapequa (N.Y.) and Darien (Conn.), before most recently brushing aside Oceanside (N.Y.), 14-2, in the Nassau Class A semifinals behind another fine effort from Kim Kolodny. The senior captain led off the game with three straight goals to give Farmingdale an early 3-0 lead. The Dalers now face Massapequa, which they edged less than a month ago, in Wednesday's Class A championship game.
3. Ward Melville (N.Y.), 17-1
Class is back in session for the Patriots' opponents. Ward Melville took its first two opponents to school in the Suffolk Division I playoffs, downing Middle Country (N.Y.) 17-9 and East Islip (N.Y.) 13-5. After edging both teams by a single goal earlier this season, the two runaway wins were impressive. Next up, Ward Melville faces Bay Shore, which also played it extremely tough earlier this season. Junior midfielder Emily Rogers-Healion has emerged as a star during the playoffs, with six goals against Middle Country, including a four-goal run that helped the Patriots expand their lead from 10-7 to 15-7 in the second half.
4. West Genesee (N.Y.), 16-1
The Wildcats remain undefeated within the state of New York, as their sole blemish came against Garden State foe Mendham (N.J.). West Genesee handled an unusual challenge with grace this past week. The Wildcats faced the difficult situation of taking on the same team in the postseason that they had just played in their regular-season finale. Eight days removed from a 16-8 home win over Fayetteville-Manlius (N.Y.), West Genesee got the Hornets again, 19-6. Last year, the Wildcats didn't lose a single game until June 10, when they were edged by one-loss Pittsford (N.Y.).
5. Needham (Mass.), 19-1
A three-game road trip at season's end failed to deter the Rockets, as they downed Norwood (Mass.), Framingham (Mass.) and Newton North (Mass.). After barely beating the Flyers, 12-9, in their second meeting of the season, the Rockets insured there would be no such suspense against Newton North (Mass.), winning 17-11. Still undefeated within the confines of the Bay State, Needham already has taken down Wellesley (Mass.) and Westwood (Mass.) — teams that provided all three losses last year. The Rockets' win over the Wolverines marked their first in 11 years. They have done all this without senior defender and team captain Jane O'Connor, who tore her ACL after securing eight draw controls against Reading (Mass.).
6. Notre Dame Academy (Mass.), 20-1
Facing the challenge of a lifetime, the Cougars emerged unscathed — for the most part. Seven of their last nine games of the regular season were on the road, and all seven of their road opponents finished the season with winning records, and after letting their perfect record slip with a 13-11 loss at Andover (Mass.), Notre Dame Academy edged Norwell (Mass.) and King Phillip (Mass.) on the road.
7. Lincoln-Sudbury (Mass.), 19-1
It's hard to say anything bad about the Warriors. Their only loss of the season came on the road, against another team with just one loss: Notre Dame Academy (Mass.). Lincoln-Sudbury has won 10 consecutive games since, including wins over Andover (Mass.) and Norwell (Mass.). The Warriors' toughest postseason contest — as the top seed in North Division 1 — could come in the finals against an Andover (Mass.) team they beat 15-9 on April 29.
8. Westwood (Mass.), 18-2
One would be best advised to avoid standing in the way of the Wolverines right now. Indeed, as the postseason rolls around in the Bay State, it's safe to say no one would like to face off against this two-loss team. After losing its second game of the season to Needham (Mass.), Westwood has been on an absolute tear, winning its last six games. The Wolverines have won each of those six games by at least seven goals. As the third seed in the South Division 1 Tournament, Westwood could face Wellesley (Mass.) in the quarterfinals, before taking on Notre Dame Academy (Mass.) in the semifinals and Needham in the finals. The path to another state championship will thus be very difficult for the Wolverines.
9. Bay Shore (N.Y.), 17-1
The Marauders have been awfully consistent all season long. With the exception of an eight-goal performance against Ward Melville (N.Y.) in its sole loss of the season, Bay Shore has reached double digits in every game. After knocking down Northport (N.Y.) and Wantagh (N.Y.) in a four-day stretch, Bay Shore has barely been challenged, winning each of its last seven games by at least six goals. Last season ended in a disappointing 19-8 loss to Northport, but the Marauders have already defeated the Tigers on the road this season.
10. Garden City (N.Y.), 13-5
The Trojans remain dangerous. Garden City has shown an ability to play with the region's best, defeating Darien (Conn.), Long Beach (N.Y.), Mt. Sinai (N.Y.) and Wantagh (N.Y.). While the Trojans have more losses than anyone else on this list, all of those losses came against top competition — including two of Maryland's top teams, St. Anthony's (N.Y.), Farmingdale (N.Y.) and Manhasset (N.Y.). Their five defeats came against teams with a combined record of 78-9.
News and Notes
All-Around Effort Lifts Dalers in Postseason
While the attention surrounding Farmingdale (N.Y.) may center on Kim Kolodny, coach Shari Campbell pointed to the powerful contributions of midfielders Nadine Hadnagy and Colleen Reynolds as pivotal causes behind the Dalers' success.
"Kim's not going to get that goal without our midfield," Campbell said. "They are doing all of the work all over the field to make sure that Kim has those opportunities that she has. So just as important as Kim is to us, we would be nowhere without Colleen Reynolds and without Nadine Hadnagy."
The strong play of sophomore goalie Olivia Kirk has also helped. Campbell was already considering playing Kirk over Nicole Kayola when the junior goalie decided to step down and concentrate on volleyball, according to her former coach. Kirk didn't have much time to adjust. Her first full game was May 1, when Farmingdale stunned Garden City (N.Y.0, 13-12.
"It was a decision that probably would have been made even if the junior goalie had stayed in, but it was trial under fire because now she is our only goalie," Campbell said. "Everybody else was surprised, but we knew we had this little diamond in the rough that just needed an opportunity to get a couple of games under her belt to feel real good about herself."
With contributions from a wide range of players, Farmingdale has won 16 of 17 games this season. The Dalers' only loss came against Manhasset (N.Y.), a 12-6 defeat. Campbell noted Farmingdale's meeting with Manhasset marked its fifth game in eight days.
"They beat us up and down the field, so it's certainly not taking anything away from them, but I would say that we were very, very tired," Campbell said. "We knew going in that we were going to have tired legs. We were going to have real tired minds. It really was just a matter of getting our legs back, and having a couple of days off of practice to just recuperate."
The Dalers have won four games since, surrendering just two goals apiece in their last two games. Yet, Campbell knows that Farmingdale's postseason journey is about to get a whole lot tougher, as Massapequa (N.Y>) rolls up next. The Dalers defeated the Chiefs, 17-12, on May 9. Campbell is expecting Wednesday night's meeting to be a similar tooth-and-nail affair.
"Talk about your rivalries," Campbell said. "As much as they are fired up to play against them, they are just as fired up to play against us. Both coaching staffs: No one knows Massapequa better than us, and no one knows us better than Massapequa."
Fortunately, for Campbell, her team is better rested this time around than it was for its game against Manhasset — perhaps a little too well rested.
"We're still not playing perfect lacrosse, but we are really, really fit. I think the girls know that nobody is going to out-run us. I'd like to think that nobody is going to out-work us at this point in the season," Campbell said.
Former Star Working Her Magic on the Sidelines
Meredith Frank made an incredible journey during her playing days, going from one dynasty to another. After spending her high-school days at Westwood (Mass.), Frank got to be part of a newer dynasty in Evanston, Ill., where she played a part in four national championships for Northwestern.
Now, she incorporates the lessons she learned at both schools every day at Notre Dame Academy (Mass.), where she has coached the Cougars to a 20-1 record. Frank she has taken significant lessons from both Wolverines coach Leslie Frank — her mother — and Wildcats coach Kelly Amonte Hiller.
"I don't think you can get two greater role models," Frank said. "The thing that my mom has instilled in me the most and what helped me when I went to play college was just the discipline that she injected in me and that's what has made her so successful. She expects her players to work hard and her players are super disciplined. They're regimented. They have an ultimate goal and they work for it."
As for what she learned from Amonte Hiller, whose Wildcats were crowned national champions for the seventh time this past weekend, Frank said Amonte Hiller imparted tactical brilliance upon her players.
"Kelly's X's and O's are second to no one. She time and time again comes up with plays or game plans that are inspiring," Frank said. "Kelly's ability to coach her players and create game plans that allow her team to be successful and to play to her players' strengths is something that she does better than anyone."
While Frank plays very little competitive lacrosse these days, due to an ACL and meniscus tear that she suffered during her fifth year at Northwestern, she will occasionally take the field to show her players what she is talking about.
"I certainly play a little bit with my players," Frank said. "I find that if they're not understanding a point, I'll say, 'Let me show you what I mean,' and that's about the extent of my playing career."
On the other hand, her coaching career is just getting started.
Notre Dame Academy is currently in the South Division quarterfinals, set to play either Newton North (Mass.) or Hingham (Mass.) on Friday afternoon. If the Cougars win, they could meet up with Westwood (Mass.) in the semifinals.
Frank painted such a matchup as a chance for a relative upstart to take on the cream of Bay State lacrosse, even if most will focus on the storylines of a mother-daughter rivalry, or an alum taking on her old school.
"I'm less concerned with the mother-daughter matchup," Frank said. "I'm more excited for my players to feel that excitement, to feel that competition, to be put on Westwood's level, to be able to compete with them, a team that has been successful for 14 straight years. Notre Dame has had a program for the past seven or eight but we're pretty young, and I don't think they've ever seen the success that they've had, so just sort of to be thought of or play in a game against them would be very exciting."
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