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Girls Lacrosse: Wildcats feel force of Hurricane Belle

Hurricane Belle hit, and she really packed a punch.

That would be Belle Smith, of course, the supremely talented midfielder for the Westhampton Beach Hurricanes girls lacrosse team.

Wednesday was PAL Day at Westhampton Beach High School’s Carl Hansen Memorial Field, but it might as well have been Belle Smith Day. Before the Suffolk County Division II game against Shoreham-Wading River, Smith was surprised by the presentation of a framed action photo of herself and public recognition for becoming the first Westhampton Beach player to reach the career 300-point mark.

Smith then went on to fire in six goals and assist on four others in a 15-5 demolition of SWR. The junior midfielder, Westhampton Beach’s first All-American and a Boston College commit, extended her career school records to 332 points and 105 assists. She has also scored 227 career goals.

“She’s a tremendous player,” SWR coach Brittany Davis said. “I think she works hard and she has earned every single accolade she’s ever received.”

The result leaves SWR (7-6, 5-6) in a bind. With three regular-season games remaining, the Wildcats have no margin for error against visiting Hampton Bays Thursday, visiting Port Jefferson next Wednesday and at Rocky Point May 10. Rocky Point will present the greatest challenge.

“It gets real and I think it gets real for the girls because you can instill the idea that we’re playing every single game like it’s our last,” Davis said. “We have to sweep the last three games. Rocky Point will be the most important one, so I’m just hoping to keep everyone healthy, keep them on track, keep them hungry all the way up till then.”

Of course, Smith didn’t do SWR any favors with her extraordinary performance. She had four goals and three assists by halftime as Westhampton Beach (10-3, 8-3) built a commanding 9-1 lead.

“She’s a really good player, definitely talented, very diverse,” SWR midfielder Isabella Meli said. “She can score, she can feed.”

Davis took note of Smith’s passing ability.

“Additionally she’s a great feeder, so that allows everyone underneath her to really step up and do what they need to do,” Davis said. “I would say between Belle Smith and Kasey Choma [of Eastport-South Manor], those two are two of the better players I’ve seen in a while. They don’t get frustrated and put their head down when they get face guarded. They do everything. They’re getting open even when they’re face guarded, which is a hard thing to do and when they do get the ball, they’re still being unselfish with the ball and feeding it. Belle is a tremendous player.”

More milestones were observed. Westhampton Beach sophomores Maureen Duffy and Giana Murphy both surpassed 100 career points. Duffy picked up three goals and one assist while Murphy bagged two goals and two assists. Hollie Schleicher scored twice, Toni Cashman had one goal and two assists and Anna McCarthy added a goal and an assist. SWR struggled to find the back of the net as Taylor Gallarello made five first-half saves.

“They have so much talent,” said Davis.

Meli scored three goals from seven shots. The other SWR goals came from Amanda Padrazo and Catherine Erb.

“I knew this game was going to be tough,” SWR’s Jenna Lesiwicz said. She continued, “Our defense was just not ready for the quick feet that their team had with the cuts and popping in and out.”

Lesiwicz was moved from midfield to defense to fill in for regular starting defender Summer Steimel, who served a one-game suspension for a red card. “That definitely put us in a bind,” Davis said, adding, “We really, really hurt a little bit without Summer.”

Now the Wildcats must feel a sense of urgency. If they want to take their season into the playoffs, they must win out.

“It’s going to be tough,” said Lesiwicz, who along with Nicolette Constant and Meli are the team’s only seniors. “… We’re going to need to win the next three and I think our hardest game is going to be against Rocky Point. It’s going to be a pretty big game, I think.”

Said Meli: “We have the potential to do it. We are a playoff team and we just need to prove ourselves that we can get there.”

Photo caption: Shoreham-Wading River’s Jenna Lesiwicz (7) and Catherine Erb (3) keep a close watch on Westhampton Beach’s Belle Smith. (Credit: Bob Liepa)

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