After winning its first five games out of the gate, Long Beach girls’ lacrosse has endured a rough stretch against some of the top talent on Long Island.
Coach Rachel Ray is excited to see how the Marines (6-4 overall) react to dropping four of five, with a victory over Seaford sandwiched around defeats to defending Nassau Class B champ Garden City, defending L.I. Class A champ Northport, defending L.I. Class C champ Manhasset, and upstart North Shore.
“We saw most of the big dogs and ran with them,” Ray said. “We had leads in two of the four losses against very strong opponents. We had an important scrimmage postponed because of weather and we didn’t get the experience early on that we needed.
“We’re a pretty young team with only three seniors and it was good to see us not fold in any of those games,” she added. “I always look forward to us reaching midseason form. We’re keeping positive and are better for having these tough games under our belt.”
With one eye on a potential rematch with Garden City in the Class B title game about five weeks from now, the Marines played a spirited second half in a 13-7 defeat to the Trojans on April 3. Long Beach, which lost last year’s county final 9-8, trailed the rivalry renewal 11-1 at halftime.
“We were shell-shocked at the half,” Ray explained. “We weren’t fully prepared, especially on defense, and they came out really strong. We just woke up in the second half and outscored them 6-2. It’s something positive we could take away and a game we can learn from.”
The rest of the recent setbacks came against teams the Marines won’t encounter come playoff time. Manhasset and North Shore are part of a deep Nassau Class C, and both handed Long Beach 12-8 defeats.
“Manhasset we trailed 3-2 at the half,” Ray said. “The second half was more wide-open, but I thought we did a good job valuing possessions. We didn’t do that as much against North Shore. With North Shore, if you don’t stop Kylee Cobert, forget it. She’s a great player and found ways to score.”
Long Beach’s biggest offensive weapons also frequented the scoresheet last Saturday against North Shore. Junior Ava Main scored four goals, and senior Delaney Radin had a goal and five assists.
“Ava never runs out of gas and does a lot of dirty work between the 30s,” Ray said of Main, who has 22 goals and 12 assists through 10 games and is part of a dynamic midfield with seniors Nora Codianni and 18-goal scorer Keira Bauer.
Radin entered this week as Long Island’s leading scorer with 30 goals and 45 assists, an average of 7.5 points per game. “She’s just amazing,” Ray said of the University of Florida bound attacker and two-time All-American.
Sophomore Delaney Chernoff (17 goals) has also been a steady offensive contributor. On the back end, junior goaltender Emily Backlin picked up where she left off last spring and is playing at a high level, Ray said.
Another major test awaits the Marines this Thursday when they host Wantagh.