Experience propels East Meadow


Sometimes there is just no substitute for experience.

East Meadow bounced back from a tough, 11-10, double-overtime girls’ lacrosse defeat to Floral Park on May 1, with a 14-12 non-conference victory over Bellmore JFK last Friday. Eight different players in all scored goals, led by senior midfielder Emily Fitzsimmons, who tallied five.

The Lady Jets (7-6 overall, 6-2 in Conference AA-II) were still jockeying for playoff position heading into the regular-season finale against Mineola after presstime, thanks in large part to a group of upperclass players that totals 19 (nine seniors and 10 juniors.)

“It’s definitely a first time for that,” coach Colleen Hickey said of having so many veterans on the field. “It comes down to their experience. They want to be here, and they’re great teammates and great role models to their younger teammates.”

Fitzsimmons, the team leader in goals (34), has gotten plenty of help around the net as 15 different players have scored at least once. Junior midfielder Kristina Sanicola has 26 scores, while senior midfielder Jackie O’Leary has 19 goals and a team-high 12 assists. The list of goal-scoring contributors also includes senior attack Katie O’Neil, senior midfielder Nicole Provenzano, junior attack Nicole Moniello, Paige Famularo, Adriana Guglielmo and Rebecca Alzfan. Senior attack Ashley DiPinto is also rounding into form after missing time to due to injury.

“We have a wide variety of people who can score,” Hickey said, noting that the midfield is comprised of four seniors and the attack loaded with juniors and seniors. “We have a lot of girls that are skilled and contribute.”

And while the offensive firepower has certainly been a strength, the East Meadow defense turned in one of its biggest performances in a 11-8 Conference AA-III win over district-rival Clarke on April 25. On top of the 17 saves made by junior goalie Lindsey Hoffman, the Lady Jets were also led by the play of their low defense. Junior Jaida Zabala and freshmen Kelly Clarke and Melissa Peysson helped limit the scoring of the Lady Rams’ potent offense. On the wings, seniors Nicole Petrullo and Danielle Widmann have been the anchors and a focal point of the team’s transition game, while seniors Danielle Jean and Corinne Dunatov have been a contributors on the backline.

“We looked to cut off their big goal scorers,” Hickey said. “They did a good job on them. They played more of a face-guard [style], took charges and forced turnovers.”

The scoring punch, as it has for much of the season, came from plenty of sources. Four different players scored twice led by Sanicola (three goals) and Fitzsimmons (two), and Jackie O’Leary paced the team in total points with five (two goals, three assists). “[Kristina] has played midfield and attack and come on as a goal-scorer,” Hickey said. “She’s improved her shot placement and her experience after playing as a sophomore [has helped].

“Emily has good one-on-one moves and as a midfielder controls the ball a lot in transition from defense to offense and is looking [to score].”