Defense sets tone for Oceanside


Shutdown defense, steady goaltending and balanced scoring has Oceanside girls’ lacrosse near the top of Nassau Conference 2 with a record of 7-2.
“Traditionally girls lacrosse has always been a high scoring game, so we just stress that defense matters,” coach Ralph Montera Jr. said. “At Oceanside for years we really have stressed team defense, so its really not just one person, everyone has got to buy in and play team defense.”
A leader in the defensive zone is senior captain Emma Pagano, who leads the team in groundballs (30) and takeaways (20). Montera Jr. noted he loves Pagano’s ability to constantly communicate with teammates at both ends of the field.
“She’s definitely the leader,” he said. “She’s a four-year varsity player, so she she’s the captain of the defense.” 
Jayden Connolly is another senior who is a bit more reserved than her teammate but helps the Sailors (7-5 overall) in multiple areas, such as the clearing game and her knowledge of the sport as a third-year varsity player. Sam Farsky is another standout senior on a unit that allowed double digits in goals only once in the past nine games.

The backline of the defense in the cage is senior Riley Mohr, who has recorded 70 saves and has been fantastic in net all season, Montera Jr. said. Mohr made 11 saves against Carle Place, 10 saves against Syosset and nine saves against Long Beach in a tight game the Sailors fell short by a goal.
The only opponent to score more than 10 goals in a game against Oceanside has been undefeated Farmingdale, which is going to be difficult to catch for the top spot.
A perfect example of how the Sailors are keeping the competition off the scoreboard came April 13 when it limited high-scoring Mineola to no more than two goals in any quarter in a 9-4 victory.
One week later, Mohr allowed just a pair of shots to elude her and made seven saves in a convincing 14-2 win over MacArthur. Oceanside had eight different goal scorers in that one.  
The Sailors’ offense has also proved to be potent, led by sophomore attacker Sydney Abbott who has 18 goals and 14 assists.
Balance is what makes the attack hard to predict, Montera Jr. said. Junior Leigha Zaman has 22 goals and five assists, senior Grace DiDominica 16 goals and 14 assists, senior Natalie Paul has a team-high 19 goals, senior Maeve Barrins has 13 goals and eight assists, junior Caylin Harrington has 14 goals and seven assists, and senior attacker Brigid Mahoney has five goals and 14 assists.
“I think we are so good on offense because it’s so spread out,” Montera Jr. said. “We all work well together and bring something different.”
Oceanside, which prepared for its conference schedule by facing Conference 1 opponents Port Washington, Long Beach and Syosset, has three regular-season games remaining: Lynbrook, Calhoun and Bethpage, before the playoffs begin in two weeks. The home finale is May 6 versus Calhoun at 5 p.m.