A good, competitive high school girls lacrosse game was anticipated. It didn’t start out that way, though.
Riverhead scored on seven of its first eight shots, shooting out to a surprisingly easy 7-0 lead within the opening 8 minutes, 26 seconds. If the Blue Waves thought at that point that Monday’s non-league game was going to be easy for them, they would have been greatly mistaken.
After falling into a seven-goal hole, Sayville mounted a pair of 4-0 runs and twice pulled to within one goal of Riverhead, only to see the Blue Waves stave off the Golden Flashes and prevail, 19-14, at the Pulaski Sports Complex in Riverhead.
Kayla Kielbasa and Christine Thomas each accounted for five goals and three assists while Kielbasa’s sister, Megan, recorded four goals and four assists for Riverhead (4-2, 3-1 Suffolk County Division I). Kayla Kielbasa also collected a team-high nine loose balls. Emma Conroy added four goals, three of which came during the opening 7-0 burst, and Emma Panciocco had a pair of assists.
After Sayville (5-3, 4-0 Division III) pulled to within 13-12, Riverhead strung together the next three goals through Kayla Kielbasa, Conroy and Megan Kielbasa for more breathing room.
But Sayville still wasn’t done. Two straight goals by Lauren McNeill, giving her four for the game, made it a 16-14 game with 5:21 remaining.
Riverhead then finished the game in style. Thomas assisted on a Kayla Kielbasa goal before scoring herself off a feed from Panciocco for a four-goal separation. Sayville coach Adam Snitken pulled his goalie, Emily Manning, with 2:09 to go in a last-ditch effort at a comeback, but it failed. Megan Kielbasa was awarded a free-position shot which she fired into an unguarded net with 1:38 left to seal the result.
Riverhead’s freshman goalie, Sofia Salgado, made 10 saves and was swarmed by happy teammates after the final horn sounded.
Sayville was led by Kelly Marra with five goals, three assists and seven ground balls. Brooke Hoss, an eighth-grader, added two goals and two assists for the Golden Flashes, who also received a pair of goals from Meghan Havranek and two assists from Meg Collins.
Photo caption: Riverhead goalie Sofia Salgado goes high to make one of her 10 saves, denying Sayville’s Emily Abrahall. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)