Here is Brian Heyman’s story on Albertus Magnus’ win over Pleasantville.
PLEASANTVILLE The top seed in the Class C girls lacrosse tournament was showing something late in this semifinal, refusing to melt in the heavy heat and humidity, storming back on its home turf in the final six minutes against a No. 13 seed that had been on a special run.
Now Pleasantville had sliced Albertus Magnus’ lead to one. There were 26 seconds left on the clock. Missi Holland, your reaction?
“Almost a heart attack, I think,” the Albertus coach said. “When it came down to one, I was very nervous.”
But Heather Durkin gained control of the ball off the faceoff. And the Falcons are going to a section final for the first time in program history after upsetting those No. 1 Panthers 12-11 Thursday.
“Live in the moment,” Holland told the players around her. “It’s an awesome moment. Enjoy it.”
Like Nikki Leone, Mikaela Connell scored four times for Albertus. Then the junior midfielder said: “I want to go all the way and win it all. That’s our goal. I think we can do it, definitely.”
The Falcons are a young 10-8-1 group on a five-game winning streak, a group that will try to finish the job Thursday at 7 p.m. at Mamaroneck in the final against No. 2 Putnam Valley. Holland thinks her girls have been toughened by their schedule.
“I feel they’re, at this moment, unstoppable,” Holland said.
“They’ve worked so hard all season. The elements have always been there for their success. They finally found their chemistry on the field together.”
Leone scored off a free position situation to make it 12-8 with 6:19 left. But then Pleasantville’s Maria Howe crossed in front for her fifth goal. Then Nicole DiFabio fed Katie McAlister — 12-10.
Freshman goalie Tatayana Petteway stopped Howe on an 8-meter play. Forty seconds to go. Fourteen seconds later, though, Erin Biggar put in a rebound to cut it to one. But the Panthers couldn’t cut it to none. So their season came to a sudden stop at 16-2.
“It’s difficult,” coach Allison Steinberg said. “We’re still a young program. A lot of times, people are like, ‘They play an easy schedule.’ But we’re only a seventh-year varsity. So the fact that we’re in our second semifinal in seven years says a lot for us. … We’ll be in a new league (next year). It’s a tougher league.”
Steinberg said her team “maybe underestimated” Albertus “a little bit.” The Falcons built a 7-3 lead by the break behind three goals by Connell and two each by Madison Kandoth and Leone.
“I’m really proud of us,” Leone said. “This year, as a team, we came together so strong.”
Photos courtesy of Matthew Brown/The Journal News. For the entire gallery click here.