Bethpage, NY – It might be the Championship Monday for the NCAAs, a conclusion of another stellar year, but when it comes to Long Island girls lacrosse, the season is just starting to heat up.
In an early season match-up of two teams that could very well vie for the Nassau Conference 2B championship, Floral Park was able to knock off Bethpage, 12-9, on the road at Howard C. Vogts Complex. The Knights (5-1) were led by Jocelyn Penteck and Kayla Buzzeo, a pair of juniors that combined for 8 goals and 3 assists, as well as sophomore Jeanna Orfos who tallied 3 goals and 3 assists.
Floral Park was looking to stay scalding hot by claiming their fifth win in a row after dropping their season opener to Island Trees. Most of that success was behind the outstanding sophomore Orfos who scored 30 goals coming into Monday’s affair with the Golden Eagles.
“It was very important for us [to play well today]” says Buzzeo, “It really gave us forward momentum to continue to win games and make it to the playoffs like we want to so bad.”
The Knights got off to a great start in the first half which has proven to be very important in setting the tone for three of their first four wins this year. Merely 2:28 into the game, Penteck netted her first of five with a great shot that beat Bethpage keeper Brianna Whelan over the left shoulder. Less than three minutes later, Francesca Ferone notched her third goal of the season by using some fancy spin moves that left her right in front of the goalie where all she needed to do was bounce it in for the 2-0 lead.
Bethpage was able to spark some offense a minute later when Buzzeo was sent off with a yellow card for a hit to the head, on the ensuing possession Danielle Koenig went low and to the right of Erin Lauria to light the lamp. From there Floral Park netted four of the next six goals in the half, Penteck added her second, Buzzeo scored her first of three on the day, and Orfanos tallied two.
“Everyone’s role along with my role is to just work hard, if you lose a ball you have to go get it,” says Buzzeo about the importance of playing as team, “You have to make hard shots, and pass it around when you don’t have a shot. You can’t force it, we just work really well as team together.”
That type of mentality was key for the Knights in the second half.
Just when the game seemed like it was starting to get away from the Golden Eagles, Bethpage went on a run. With the score at 8-4 and less than 16 minutes left in the game, Bethpage scored three straight goals, capped by junior attacker Molly Reilly’s strike after Lindsay Cafiero gained possession off the draw control, to make it a one-goal game.
Following that goal, timeout was taken by Floral Park, but the team that came back out was calmer and in control, led by their junior leader Jocelyn Penteck. With 11:45 remaining, Buzzeo found Penteck for her fourth goal of the game, but more importantly stopped the bleeding for the Knights. The tally put her team back up by two, and returned momentum back to her squad.
“I saw that the game was starting to get tight and I figured if I had the ball, maybe I could get my teammates to be more comfortable and calm and not force the ball around,” says Penteck. “When I have the ball, I feel pretty comfortable and confident so I hope [my teammates] hopefully feel the same.”
From there Floral Park would cruise to the 12-9 victory.
Although not looking past this early season win, the Knights realize there is still a long season ahead and that this is one step in their ultimate goal.
When asked about their season goals, Buzzeo said, “our goal is to obviously make playoffs, but we really want conference champs.” Penteck echoed her teammates sentiments, “We are going to take this season one game at a time, we are looking for a pretty good season as well as a good start, and we are hopeful for a conference championship, maybe finish out the conference on top and hopefully win each game going forward.”
For now, though, they will take a solid Conference 2B victory over a tough opponent in the Bethpage Golden Eagles.
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