After a spirited run to the Nassau Class B girls’ lacrosse semifinals last spring, Long Beach opened 2014 by facing what could prove to be the toughest three opponents on its schedule.
The Lady Marines sandwiched a one-goal victory over St. John The Baptist between conference defeats to powerhouses Garden City and Manhasset, which have combined for the past 20 county Class B or small schools championships.
“Facing the teams we did to start the year can only help us moving forward,” Long Beach coach Rachel Ray said. “We played at a high level last season and brought back a pretty young team. We’ll get better every game.”
Ray said she was pleased with the 11-10 victory at St. John The Baptist on March 31, but wanted to see more production in the first two conference games despite the high level of competition. “It was a little disappointing we scored only seven goals in the two games,” she said of a 6-2 defeat to Garden City on March 22, and a 16-5 loss to Manhasset on April 3. “I wouldn’t mind seeing Garden City a second time.”
Long Beach’s strength is at midfield, Ray said, with seniors Liz Rourke and Melissa Rubin, and junior Hannah Sofield. Rourke, in her fifth varsity campaign and coming off an Honorable Mention All-County season, is headed to play at San Diego State. “She’s been a big part of our team since eighth grade when I brought her up after watching her play one JV game,” Ray said of Rourke, who scored four times, including the tying goal with 55 seconds left, against St. John The Baptist. “She’s a consistent scorer and defender, and takes almost every draw.”
Rubin is a four-year varsity performer and another strong two-way player. She will play collegiately at Berkley in California. “Melissa takes the game seriously and is similar to Liz in many ways,” Ray said. “They both have great stick skills and we count on them a lot.”
Sofield, who netted the game-winning goal with 36 seconds remaining at St. John The Baptist, is an excellent defender who sees the field well. “There could be times we use her at in-close defense,” Ray said.
Goaltender Sarah Reznick continues to turn heads with her ability in the cage. An eighth-grader already in her second varsity season, she’s become more vocal and confident, Ray said. “Her reaction time is so fast,” Ray said. “She’s not the biggest kid but she plays really big.” Junior Jaclyn Marry gives the Lady Marines another strong option in goal.
Defensively, senior Chandler Gregor is the lone returning starter and has help some new pieces to the unit jell. Junior Emma Cohen has made a smooth transition from midfield, and junior Brianne Canner brings a high level of intensity.
On attack, Long Beach features sophomore All-Conference selection Catie Breglia, a powerful lefty who scored at least once in each of the first three games, juniors Rebecca Idson and Molly Pfaff, senior Hope Henry, and sophomore Kaylee Callahan.