It never gets old.
The St. Anthony’s girls lacrosse team clinched its 10th straight NSCHSAA championship on Thursday night, downing Sacred Heart 11-7 at Adelphi University.
It’s become a championship tradition for the Friars, but the squad hardly takes it for granted. In fact, the 10th title felt even more special than usual, after a decade on top of the Long Island lacrosse ladder.
“It’s incredible,” Friars coach Summer Ferraro said. “You’re only as good as your last play. It doesn’t matter what happened, you need to make sure you’re focused every time. They’re incredibly driven and they did an excellent job.”
St. Anthony’s, ranked No. 18 in the Tri-State by News 12 Varsity, set the tone in the opening minute, jumping out to an early lead as Sabrina Cristodero found the back of the net just 40 seconds into the title tilt.
The Florida-bound senior was an offensive force to be reckoned with in the early goings, racking up a first-half hat trick, as the Friars (10-5) completely controlled tempo.
“Once we won the draw, it was just head up to the goal, see what’s open and finish it,” said Cristodero, who finished with four goals. “It was so important. That set the tone from the game. Once we got it, everybody was hyped up and it was awesome.”
The Friars dominated on draw controls, finding a way to win nearly every ground ball throughout the game. It was enough to keep Sacred Heart’s potent offense on its heels and gave St. Anthony’s plenty of time to attack the net. The squad led by as many as four goals in the first half.
“That wins game,” Cristodero said. “We realized the last game we weren’t winning draws, we weren’t getting ground balls. We fixed what we had to do there so we could come out with the win.”
St. Anthony’s front line set the tempo early, but goalie Delaney Galvin was a key part of the Friars’ championship as well.
The senior notched five saves in the first half, many coming at point-blank range. Delaney kept her composure between the pipes throughout the game, even after Sacred Heart (13-7) notched two late goals heading into the break.
“Honestly, going into a tough game like this, I just have to keep my mind straight," Galvin said. "If I go in with a bad mind, I won’t play well. Without my defense I would not make the saves I did.”
The Friars added two more goals early in the second half, both from the stick of Kira Accettella, and St. Anthony’s slowed the game to a near-crawl in the waning moments of regulation.
Sacred Heart, ranked No. 16 in the Tri-State by News 12 Varsity, could never quite find its rhythm, despite a pair of shots to make it a two-goal game with 6:47 left. The Friars snuffed out any potential rally with three goals in the final four and a half minutes.
“It was basically just do your job,” Ferraro said. “Know what you’re here to do. We knew we were here to win, so just play smart, play clean and don’t get frustrated. You can’t let anyone else get in your head.”
It’s a historic victory for the Friars who, as usual, came into this season with their sights set on a title. The championship might be part of St. Anthony’s tradition, but, for the seniors it’s a picture-perfect way to end their career, a cherry on the top of an absolutely dominant sundae.
“It’s the best way to end my senior year,” Galvin said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better season or a better finish to this year.”