Long Beach geared towards playoffs


Just over a month since the season opened, and the Long Beach girls’ lacrosse team is at .500 with a 5-5 record.

“The beginning of the season was good and then we hit a little speed bump running into Garden City, Manhasset, Cold Spring Harbor, these top programs and they played really well,” said Marines coach Rachel Ray, where her program went a combined 0-3 against those three championship-caliber opponents. “We’ve been on the side of an overtime win and two overtime losses, and in this conference it can really go either way.”

With five games left in the regular season, this is the time to sharpen everything, down to the smallest detail, with playoffs on the horizon.

“Our mid-season-to-May, like now, is when we start to play our best, and those losses were not all losses, they were learning experiences for us as far as playing close games; now we just got to push through and try to get on the winning side of those tight games,” Ray explained. “It’s like a whole new season now, and just keeping that mindset that losses aren’t losses, they’re lessons, motivating and pushing us to be the best team we can be this year.”

It's pedal to the medal, full steam ahead.

“Just competing, making a big thing out of every day,” Ray said. “Nothing is set in stone, so competing in practice every single day for a spot.”

Part of the driving force are midfielders Delaney Chernoff, Anala Teemer and Sienna Warren, primarily by stepping up for senior Ava Main who was sidelined with injury temporarily. Warren scored the winning goals in overtime against both South Side April 16 and Massapequa two weeks later, both off assists from Chernoff. Freshman Reilly Amorosa has held her ground also.

"It was good to see other people step up, those girls now have confidence,” Ray said, stressing how sophomores Skylar Kilfeather and Sienna Warren took the charge and stepped up. “[I expected them] to finish, to take the pressure off Delaney because her and Ava run the show out there and when teams scout us, that’s who they know they need to stop, Chernoff and Main. With the younger ones stepping up, it takes the pressure off those two a little bit.”

What’s giving spirit to the Marines is the deep bench and wide variety of tools to score with.

“[Amorosa] is definitely flying under the radar and really impressing us,” Ray explained. “I think that when teams scout us they see the obvious two or three, [Main], Chernoff and Teemer, and Kilfeather really but they don’t know really about Warren and [Ella] Timperio and these other girls that are consistently putting up points for us every game.”

There’s also the defense, a veteran group led by star goalie Emily Backlin, that’s coming together according to Ray.

“They’ve been there for years and been on the side of losing these one-goal games in the county championship,” Ray said. “Having them, the veteran group down there, motivate the team is also something that’s going to push us through May.”