Girls lacrosse: Tuckers are county champs
Minutes after Mattituck/Southold/Greenport secured the Suffolk County Class D girls lacrosse championship Thursday, senior co-captain Ella Suglia had a chance to savor the moment.
“I’m speechless right now,” she said following the Tuckers 12-6 victory over Babylon at Lincoln Avenue Sports Complex in Mastic. “Some of the seniors have been working towards this since ninth grade. I can be so grateful. Honestly, I’m just in shock that we won this game. We came out firing and we did not stop. I’m so proud of us.”
Suglia had every right to be proud, leading the way with a four-goal, two-assist performance to culminate one of the greatest days in the school’s lacrosse history. Only hours prior, the boys team won its county title with a 12-5 win over Babylon at the same venue.
As was the case all season, Suglia had plenty of help from her teammates: senior Sage Foster contributed four goals, freshmen Gianna Calise added two goals and one assist, and Page Kellershon recorded a goal and two assists, seniors Megan Tobin scored a goal and Brynn Gardner collected three assists.
“We are peaking at the right time,” Foster said. “We are locked in.”
Head coach Logan McGinn agreed. “A lot of hard work pays off,” he said. “It’s easy when you have such good girls that are willing to put in the work and listen to what we do. We had a really good game plan. We scouted them very well. They followed everything to a tee. It was perfect.”
MSG will play the Nassau County champion — either Carle Place or Cold Spring Harbor — for the Long Island crown at Adelphi University on Sunday, June 4 at 11 a.m. The state semifinals are scheduled for SUNY Cortland on June 9, the final is on June 10.
The girls prepped for their game Thursday by watching the boys win their own county title, and the boys team was in the stands to cheer on the girls.
“We do so many things with the boys,” McGinn said. “It’s a huge support system. It really is such an awesome family atmosphere.”
Suglia set the early pace, scoring twice, the first from close range just 68 seconds after the opening faceoff, the second at the 3:13 mark.
Kellershon started the latter sequence, picking up a ground ball and bolting down the right side before finding Suglia in the middle.
“The only thing going through my mind was nothing was stopping me,” Kellershon said. “As I approached [the goal], Ella was creeping in, and everyone was crashing. Instead of shooting, it was a better option to pass.”
Kellherson tallied the third goal at 6:03 before Babylon midfielder Sophia Conti scored the first of her five goals, all on penalty shots, at 7:41.
Babylon closed the gap to 7-5 early in the second half, prompting McGinn to call timeout, which helped turn the momentum. Suglia then sparked MSG to a five-goal outburst, scoring a spectacular goal at 9:27, whipping the ball into the right side of the net, while cutting to her left.
“We honor her so much,” Calise said. “She’s so beneficial to our team and the momentum of the game. She not only motivates us physically, but also mentally she has such an impact. She’s always there to cheer us up.”
Junior goalie Aiko Fujita (nine saves) denied two penalty shots, stopping Gwen Fawess at 15:02 of the first half and Brooke Gengler at 2:06 in the second half.
“It’s a special thing when you have a girl like Aiko in net,” McGinn said. “Instead of [penalty shots] being 80-20 for them, it becomes 50-50. A lot of times we come out on top, which is so awesome.”
The secret to Fujita’s success?
“When they try to move me around, I just try to move the least,” she said.
While seniors have been key to the team’s success, freshmen such as Kellershon and Calise have excelled, too.
“I am so lucky to have them for three more years,” McGinn said. “They listen to everything. They ask questions. They are leaders. They don’t get rattled and they rise up for big moments. That’s the definition of a great player.”
Prior to the season, McGinn asked his players to write down their goals for the season.
Calise recalled that “95% to 100% percent of the goals was to make it to this point. Having that goal achieved is such an amazing accomplishment.”
McGinn might now consider asking his players to update their goals, with more challenges — and potential championships — ahead.