Kennedy preps for difficult stretch


Kennedy’s girls’ lacrosse team will have to navigate through a tough upcoming schedule if it wants to remain in contention for a second straight conference championship.

The Cougars (5-6, 4-2 Conference 3), who also won the division crown in 2021, face undefeated Baldwin (8-0, 5-0) April 25 in a rematch between the two teams that shared the conference title last spring. Kennedy blanked the Bruins 4-0 last April 28.

Kennedy also hosts East Meadow (6-4, 6-2) on May 1, which is sandwiched around two games with Floral Park.

“Last year, we put a nice win on [Baldwin],” coach Mallory Freely said. “We’ll watch some film during the week and we’ll see what we need to do to take care of business.”

The Cougars were hoping to carry some momentum into the contest but were denied a third straight victory with a 10-3 home loss to Glen Cove last Friday. Leading scorer Ella Galjanich had all three goals and Adrianna Califano stopped 12 shots to reach 100 for the season.

Freely believed her team was a little “distracted” after trailing 6-0 at halftime as Bellmore schools recognized autism day at the field.

“I don’t know if they were overwhelmed from the crowd for the fundraiser game. I don’t know if that distracted them,” she explained. “They were excited about that and then they came out real flat. One goal came in, two goals came in and all of a sudden they got deflated and defeated.”

It was the second time in as many tries that Kennedy failed to extend its winning streak to three games to move over .500. Victories against Plainview and Hewlett in early April moved the team to 3-3, but the good feelings ended with road losses to Kellenberg and Oyster Bay.

The Cougars did recover with a 7-6 victory over Division on April 12 and a 13-6 romp at Freeport four days later behind hat tricks by seniors Kaylee Ayers (14 goals) and Sophia Fischetti and two goals and four points from rising eighth grader Nicole Donoghue (10 goals).

Galjanich has 26 goals this season but has been hampered by a shin injury that has limited her to just the offensive side of the field. The injury forced Freely to shuffle her lineup and re-fill the midfield position, which began to tire and struggle in transition. Junior Lauren Robinson has been a workhorse in the midfield and draw controls, and has chipped in seven goals.

Freely said the defense was the “strong point” of the team with sophomores Sam Frank and Dakota Hoehn and senior Anna Bachas leading the way with sisters Jordi and Alexa Wohlleben. Hoehn caused a turnover with 30 seconds left to seal the Division win.

“Sam Frank shined [against Glen Cove],” Freely said. “She wants the ball, hustles for anything and throws her body all over the place. Dakota Hoehn is very composed and smart playing behind the cage and doesn’t over-commit too much and Anna Bachas just went to the lower defense position this year and stepped up.”

Califano, who shut out Baldwin last season, needs 15 more saves to reach 500 in her varsity career.