For the second straight year Long Beach found itself a goal short of topping Garden City on the county championship stage.
A late goal by Garden City’s Kendal Morris with 2:41 left in the second half proved the difference in a 9-8 win in the Nassau Class B girls’ lacrosse final at Adelphi’s Motamed Field June 1.
The result once again denied Long Beach of the program’s first county title. The Marines also fell to Garden City by a 9-8 score on the same field in the 2022 Class B finals when the Trojans netted the game-winner with just 1.7 seconds remaining.
“This is a driving force for our program,” Long Beach coach Rachel Ray said of the quest for that first county crown. “We wanted to rewrite the script and have a different ending after last year. It was heartbreaking, but I’m proud of them.”
Following the eventual winning goal, Garden City won the ensuing draw control and was able to run out most of the remaining clock before Long Beach successfully challenged an illegal stick to give the Marines possession with 19.4 seconds left. Junior midfielder Ava Main ran nearly the length of the field against stiff Garden City pressure but the Marines were unable to generate a shot at the tying goal.
Long Beach (12-7) knotted the score at 8-8 on a Ella Timperio goal off an assist from Skylar Kilfeather with 6:44 left just over two minutes after goalie Emily Backlin made a point-blank save to keep it a one-goal game. The Marines won the ensuing draw control, but Garden City goalie Niamh Pfaff intercepted a pass near the net which set up the ultimate game-winner.
The Marines traded blows with the Trojans throughout the second half after trailing 6-5 at halftime starting with a Delaney Radin tying tally early in the period. Kilfeather knotted the game at 7-7 with 12:40 remaining before Garden City answered just 40 seconds later on a Maureen Arendt goal.
Sophomore midfielder Delaney Chernoff led the Marine offense with three goals with her second giving Long Beach its only lead of the game at 2-1 with 20:11 left in the first half off a pass from Radin. The University of Florida-bound Radin finished her heralded Long Beach career with three assists and a goal while facing constant double teams.
“She is really an extension of the coaching staff with her strong lacrosse IQ,” said Ray of Radin, who finished the season with 147 points and had 412 for her Long Beach career. “She is a once in a generation type of player to coach.”
The Marines had four players earn All-County honors in Radin, Main, Backlin and senior Keira Bauer. Radin is also expected to earn her third All-American recognition this month.
While the quest for Long Beach’s first county championship continues, the 2023 team underscored how far the program has grown under Ray’s leadership, competing in its second straight Class B finals and third in the past six seasons. Long Beach graduates Radin, Bauer and midfielder Nora Codianni, but brings back a sleigh of talent poised to once again contend for a championship.
“This is a driving force for the program,” Ray said. “We are right there every year.”