It rained on Riverhead’s Senior Day parade on Tuesday. Literally and figuratively.
First there were the actual raindrops, and then there was the Middle Country high school girls lacrosse team, smoothly zipping passes upfield and pumping shots into the goal with astounding regularity.
“It wasn’t exactly what I had planned,” said middie Stacy Griffing, one of the Riverhead Blue Waves’ three seniors who capped her high school playing career.
Jenna Agostino, a senior middie, fired in five goals, assisted on two others and picked up five ground balls for Middle Country in its 22-4 thumping of Riverhead in the final regular-season game for both teams.
The rain didn’t hamper playoff-bound Middle Country (10-6, 8-6 in Suffolk County Division I), which responded to a game-opening goal by Bethany Peters after 1 minute 53 seconds with 12 straight of its own in the game on rain-soaked Coach Mike McKillop Memorial Field in Riverhead.
The game marked the conclusion of Riverhead’s inaugural varsity season and served as a farewell for the team’s senior class of three players: attackman Danielle McCabe, defenseman Sara Britt and Griffing. Prior to the opening draw, Riverhead Coach Rich D’Alsace presented flowers to the three of them.
“Those three senior athletes are phenomenal,” he said.
It wasn’t the final lacrosse game for Griffing and McCabe, though. The two starters, who describe themselves as best friends, will both move on to play for Marywood University (Pa.), an NCAA Division III team.
D’Alsace said that since those two joined the program three years ago, they committed themselves to the sport. “The amount they improved in two years just shows how good” they are as athletes, he said.
Britt, a reserve player who will play soccer for Widener University (Pa.), has shown her athleticism as well. That athleticism went a long way toward helping her earn a place on the team as a first-year player.
D’Alsace said he was “shocked” when Britt approached him this past winter and told him she would like to play lacrosse.
“I said, ‘I’m not sure you’re going to make the varsity team,’ ” the coach recalled. “I had never seen her play. And yet, she came out and [in] the first few days of tryouts I realized what hustle that kid has. It was tough with her on her skills because they’re lacking, but athletically-wise, she was ready to get on that field with varsity players.”
Being a senior on Riverhead’s first varsity team is “special,” McCabe said, “but unfortunate because I wish I could stay in the program longer.”
Shannon Coleman had a big day for Middle Country, striking for four goals and two assists. A teammate, eighth-grader Nikki Ortega, contributed three goals and three assists. Another Middle Country player, Victoria Devine, registered four assists to go with a goal.
Middle Country’s goalkeeper, Lauren Young, was bothered for only four saves, all in the second half.
Middle Country outshot Riverhead, 33-9, and won 30 grounds balls, twice as many as the Blue Waves.
Peters had two goals and an assist for Riverhead, which also received goals from Carolyn Carrera and Griffing. Carrera assisted twice and won 20 of 27 draws.
Middle Country, which was seeded 10th in the division before the season, used a senior defense to navigate a demanding schedule and earn a second straight postseason berth.
“It was a tough schedule,” Middle Country Coach Lindsay Dolson said. “We needed to win the games we had to win to get in.”
While Middle Country prepares for a playoff game on Friday, Riverhead finished up at 3-12, 2-12.
“I think every single one of the players on my team got better,” said Griffing.
D’Alsace said: “We definitely grew as a team. We definitely improved. I wish we would have improved a little more, of course. I wish we would have won a few more games. I’m not disappointed one bit in the girls. We were going to need to see what it is like [at the varsity level]. They really got a good sense of where we need to get.”