SUFFOLK COUNTY CLASS C TOURNAMENT | MUSTANGS 8, WILDCATS 4
About an hour before game time, when the players on the Mount Sinai High School girls lacrosse team marched toward their field for pregame warmups on Tuesday, there was not a single smile on their faces. On the contrary, they looked all business, wearing deadly serious looks. One might even say they appeared downright angry, as if resentful that someone was going to dare try to take something away from them that they had worked hard for.
The fact that they were facing Shoreham-Wading River may have only made them more determined. The two teams, whose schools are separated by only eight miles, are fierce rivals, after all.
“It’s Army-Navy,” said Mount Sinai coach Al Bertolone.
And when they play each other, players may somehow find an additional source of energy.
“I love playing Mount Sinai,” Shoreham goalie Lauren Daly said. “I think it’s the greatest game to watch, the greatest game to play in in Suffolk County. It’s just such a good matchup.”
For so long, it was Shoreham that had the upper hand on Mount Sinai. Prior to Tuesday, the Wildcats had a 5-1 playoff record against the Mustangs, all of those games being county finals. Shoreham was the team that Mount Sinai aspired to be like.
“They were the measuring stick when I started here,” said Bertolone.
Times have changed, and the roles have been reversed. That was made clear as top-seeded Mount Sinai, the defending New York State Class C champion, recorded its 37th straight win by outplaying the No. 4 Wildcats, 8-4, in a Suffolk County semifinal.
The Mustangs (17-0), who finished atop the Suffolk Division II standings, will play No. 2 Bayport-Blue Point (13-3) for the county Class C title on May 29 at the Dowling Sports Complex.
With the loss, the Wildcats (7-9) saw their season end, not to mention the snapping of a string of 10 straight years in which they had reached county finals (they won eight of them). Since 2006, the Wildcats have a 30-4 playoff record. They were state champions in 2012, and the last team to defeat Mount Sinai.
The high school career of one of Shoreham’s best players, Shannon Rosati, came to a disturbing end. While contesting for a draw, Rosati took a hit and crashed hard onto the field turf. Play was stopped while she was checked out with 15 minutes 37 seconds left in the game. The senior middie was helped to her feet after several minutes and slowly escorted to the bench, where she remained for the rest of the game. After the game, an athletic trainer escorted Rosati, who was said to have trouble breathing, to an ambulance.
“She got hit in her sternum hard, so they’re going to check it out,” said Shoreham coach Rachel Feirstein.
In the time that she played, Rosati scored two goals from six shots.
Mount Sinai, which defeated the Wildcats in last year’s county final and again earlier this season, fired in three straight goals by Shayna Pirecca, Jessica Demeo and Pirecca again to snap a 2-2 tie.
“They capitalize,” Daly said. “When we make a mistake, they’re all over that mistake and they’re usually converting.”
Pirecca and Kasey Mitchell both had hat tricks. Pirecca’s sister, Sydney Pirreca, also scored.
If not for some fine goaltending by Daly, who stopped eight shots, Mount Sinai would have had more goals.
Aside from Rosati, the only other Shoreham players to put a shot past goalie Julia Michaels were Jesse Arline and Sophia Triandafils.
After Mitchell scored from a free-position shot for a 7-4 lead with 9:40 to go, Mount Sinai went into keep-away mode. The Mustangs maintained possession for minutes at a time, content to eat the clock and watch the time run out on Shoreham’s season.
When the game ended, Mount Sinai’s bench players joined their teammates in rushing to Michaels to celebrate.
Afterward, the Wildcats indicated they are about to begin preparations for next season immediately.
“We start tomorrow,” junior defenseman Erin Blomberg said. “There’s no break. We’re starting tomorrow.”
The rivalry continues.
Joe Werkmeister contributed to this article.