Perhaps there is no other sport like lacrosse where momentum can mean so much. At one juncture you’re up and you can do no wrong. Then, suddenly, you have lost it as the opposition seemingly scores at will.
The Shoreham Wading-River High School girls team learned that the hard way in its 9-7 loss at Bayport-Blue Point on a chilly, rainy Tuesday afternoon. The Wildcats uncharacteristically allowed a 5-1 first-half advantage slip away in the Suffolk County Division II match.
Brooke Sparacio snapped a 7-7 deadlock for the game-winner with 8 minutes, 14 seconds remaining.
“I told them the second they get a goal they’re going to roll off that momentum,” Shoreham coach Brittany Davis said. “We have to make sure that we’re still leading because in this game we can hold the ball. So, once they got that momentum and had that one goal up on us, that’s when we’re in trouble.”
Shoreham (1-1, 1-1) can blame the dynamic duo of the Weeks twins for that. Seniors Courtney and Cassidy Weeks scored three goals apiece for the Phantoms (2-0, 2-0), feeding off fast breaks and strong transition play.
“It was tough. Getting out early, sometimes we get this overconfidence [that] kind of makes us step back a little bit,” Davis said. “Bayport is not the type of team that you can think you’re up. You’re never up. You’re up 10 goals, you’re not up for a team like this. So, are we disappointed? Yeah. Did we make a few silly mistakes? Yeah. Hopefully if we see them at the end, it’s something that we have cleaned up.”
The Wildcats enjoyed the early momentum. They came out strong, grabbing a 3-0 lead within the opening 3:33. Only 21 seconds after the opening draw, Maddie Farron tallied for the visitors before Amanda Padrazo (23:13 remaining) and Erin Triandafils (21:27 left).
After Courtney Weeks snapped the streak behind a goal with 13:27 to go in the half, Shoreham found the net.
Everything was going smoothly.
Then Courtney Weeks scored off a free-position shot with 3:21 left, and with defenseman Julie Kadletz serving a penalty for a yellow-card infraction with three seconds remaining in the half, Cassidy Weeks solved goalie Gabby Cacciola just before the buzzer for a 5-3 Wildcats halftime lead.
“Those last two goals before the half gave us the confidence,” Bayport coach Ryan Gick said.
“I thought first half we played amazing,” said Triandafils, who led Shoreham with two goals. “We had a great lead, but unfortunately we couldn’t finish. They’re a great team. We always have to play our best game when we play them.”
Still enjoying a player advantage, Bayport started the second half as though the first half never ended, equalizing at 5-5 after only 57 seconds behind Cassidy Weeks and Madison Waters.
“We weren’t prepared enough to play a man down,” Cacciola said. “I feel we weren’t talking enough and working together.”
Courtney Weeks then set up Ailish Kelly for a 6-5 lead with 21:47 remaining before she tallied herself with 21:05 left.
“They definitely put a lot of quick goals away,” Triandafils said. “That really caught us off guard and slowed us down. Britt took the timeout, but we, unfortunately, just couldn’t get our momentum back going again. It really cost us the game because it’s so hard when you can’t pick up and score more goals and build off of that.”
The Wildcats managed to knot things up at 7-7 as Triandafils and Hayden Lachenmeyer found the range but could not hold off the Phantoms.
It was all Bayport the rest of the way. Sparacio scored the winner with 8:14 left and Cassidy Weeks added an insurance goal with 3:03 to go.
The Wildcats wasted an outstanding performance by Cacciola (17 saves), who denied the hosts several times on point-blank opportunities.
“Gabby had an amazing first half,” Davis said. “If she let any of those goals in, it would have been a totally different half. She made save after save after save. There were times when she didn’t know where the ball was and somehow made a save with the back of her stick. Played incredible. Just feel bad that we couldn’t finish it for her.”
Photo caption: Shoreham Wading-River’s Hayden Lachenmeyer scoring a second-half goal against Bayport-Blue Point goalie Morgan Woolley. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)