North Shore aims to regain form


Coming off a season in which it reached the Nassau County Class C girls’ lacrosse championship game, North Shore is trying to regain the magic. 

Jaclyn Stevens, the reigning Conference 1 Coach of the Year, is scratching her head after things started off so swell with victories over Friends Academy and Kellenberg. 

“We started off great but been in a little bit of a drought,’’ Stevens said. 

After a 2-0 start, the Vikings have dropped five straight games entering this week’s contest versus Cold Spring Harbor. But this is a squad that appears better than its 2-5 record despite not having a true sniper and losing superstar Kylee Colbert to graduation. 

In close losses to South Side and Massapequa, the Vikings finished strong after falling behind by wide margins. In a 14-11 loss to South Side, North Shore got down by 10.

“With South Side and Massapequa, we started our game way too late,’’ Stevens said. “We’ve gone through full quarters where we don’t score and then turn it on too late. Our biggest focus moving forward is playing the full 48 minutes and not waiting until we’re down a couple of goals. The girls get fired up after we’re down and after halftime but it’s too late.’’

The shining lacrosse star off Hempstead Harbor this season has been senior defender Hannah Gilliam. She makes a forceful tandem with junior Lizzy Aurre. The problem is Aurre was lost two weeks with a concussion.

“Our defense is the heart of the team,’’ Stevens said. “Goals have been scored on us but there’s a good amount of cohesiveness with the defense. (Gilliam and Aurre) have just been clicking a lot and helping us stay in games.’’

Gilliam has been “hyperfocused’’ as a lockdown defender, says Stevens. 

“She has such a high IQ,’’ Stevens said. “She studies players and watches players. Most of the time we put her on the other team’s high scorers. When she gets a (jersey) number in her head, she just locks in.  She does a great job on 1-on-1 defense.’’

While their scoring contributors are plentiful, there isn’t one pure goal-scorer on the roster and that hurts during those dry times. Seniors Kaila Van Cott and Adriana Mavlios are considered their most dangerous shooters but it is a scoring-by-committee. Mavlios had six goals against South Side.

“I feel like it’s balanced and depends on the game,’’ Stevens said. “The stats are balanced. it is good and we’re harder to scout because it’s not one player. But with this drought, it’ been tough.’’

There is still a lot of 2023 grit from The Maroon, embodied in Erin Lily LaRosa at midfield. “She never stops – always hungry for the ball,’’ Stevens said. 

The starting goalie is Hailey Ayres, and Lila and Elle Archer are a solid tagteam on faceoffs. Elle, a senior, is a captain along with Gilliam and Van Cott.

If the top conference with all the big lacrosse schools is too much this spring for the Sea Cliff/Glen Head program, Stevens isn’t saying.

“We want to be playing these great teams,’’ she said. “We don’t want to leave that conference. I think we can nail down a postseason spot. We have to learn from the losses. We want to be winning but these losses will prepare us for the big-pressure games of postseason.’’