Kristen Lynch and Jillian Graziano led the girls lacrosse team to the playoffs last spring. One year later and it’s clear the Gladiators, behind one of the most potent scoring duos on Long Island, are destined for more.
When challenged host New Hyde Park on a muddy and blustery Monday afternoon and everything seemed headed in the wrong direction, Lynch and Graziano showed their maturity. The Gladiators were able to keep their composure and answer.
NHP turned a one-goal game with 9:05 left into a 17-12 win to stay atop Nassau Conference 3B. The Gladiators have now scored 157 goals to improve to 9-1 overall, 7-1 conference.
Lynch and Graziano each poured in six goals to power NHP.
“Every win motivates us to go farther,” Graziano said. “We’re off to a great season with help from everyone. We’re having a great time playing.”
NHP scored six goals in a row to turn an early 4-2 deficit into a commanding 11-5 edge. But Glen Cove (3-4, 3-3), the defending conference champ, refused to go away.
“We just told the kids to calm down,” veteran Glen Cove Coach Jacquie Gow said. “They got so tense, so nervous and couldn’t hold onto to the ball. We told them to get it, gun for the goal and then pull out and work it.”
Big Red rattled off five straight goals midway through the second half to turn a runaway into a tense affair. Alex Gerin’s goal with 12:04 left closed the gap to 12-11.
Glen Cove was led by Molloy-bound senior attack Ariana Cavallone, who used lightning speed to beat the defense and score four goals. Draw whiz Grabriella Morrocu added three goals.
Lynch, headed to Wesleyan, answered for NHP. But Glen Cove kept pushing, getting a big goal from attack Meghan O’Connell to close the NHP lead to 13-12 with 9:05 to go.
“We lost communication,” NHP Coach Lorin Wirth said. “We lost possession. And that’s what wins games. You have to pull it out somewhere and figure it out as a team.”
The Gladiators closed out the game by possessing the ball and relentlessly attacking the goal. Junior Laura Rice scored three of the team’s final four goals to put the game away. It could have been worse. Glen Cove goalie Gillian Farnan made eight big saves.
New Hyde Park senior goalie Devon DeSanna made nine saves to help key the win.
“They gave us a run for our money,” Wirth said. “That was one of our toughest games.”
NHP hits the road to face Roslyn while Glen Cove hosts Bethpage. Both games are Thursday at 4:30 p.m.
Note: Game photos coming Wednesday.