It’s been a banner year for the girls at Elmont High School. The Spartans had success in track & field, advanced to the state finals on the basketball court, captured a softball league championship, and won a playoff game on the lacrosse field for the first time in program history. The latter came in dramatic fashion.
On May 12, No.11 Elmont pulled off a huge upset in the Class B tournament when it went on the road to take on No. 6 Jericho, the co-champions of Conference III, and came home with a miraculous 9-8 overtime win. Senior Jada Fernandez’s goal with just over a minute to play in the extra session gave the Lady Spartans the win. Fernandez finished the game with three goals and an assist.
Elmont scored with 25 seconds remaining in regulation to get within a goal at 8-7, and then Fernandez took the draw, sprinted to the cage, and found the back of the net with just 12 seconds to play. Senior Chiamaka Ubani scored a pair of goals and assisted on another, and Janae Nelson turned aside 10 shots to earn the win. Nelson had a terrific senior year, averaging just over 10 saves per game.
The Lady Spartans saw their season come to an end with a loss to a talented Long Beach team in the quarterfinal round of the playoffs. The team finished with an overall record of 12-3, 8-1 in Conference IV, just a game behind league champion New Hyde Park.
Head coach Kemola Webster was more than satisfied with her team’s performance. “We knew we had something special right from the start,” Webster said. “It’s not just the way they play on the field, it’s the bonding off the field, the great senior leadership, and the respect the girls have for one another. Pulling off the playoff win wasn’t about just a few girls, it was a total team effort. They’re just so good together.”
After dropping two of their first three games, the Lady Spartans got on a roll winning 10 consecutive games leading up to the playoffs, while outscoring their opponents 151-84. Ubani, one of six girls to play their last game for Elmont, led the way with 53 goals and 15 assists. She had a pair of six-goal efforts in victories over Carey and Bellmore-JFK.
Fernandez was second on the team in scoring with 28 goals and eight assists. A pair of juniors, Keturah Jackson and Tobi Fadugba, scored 29 and 30 goals, respectively. They will be looked upon to carry the load in 2019. Junior Leeana Grandel was the heart of the defense.
Webster hopes this season is a sign of things to come. “We lose the six seniors, and they’re going to be very hard to replace,” Webster said. “They brought a lot of confidence and leadership. I’m hoping we can build off this momentum and continue down this path. Success breeds success. We need to keep working hard and going forward.”