Freeport closing on high note

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A big second-half outburst lifted Freeport to an 11-5 victory at Great Neck South last Monday in a Nassau Conference V girls’ lacrosse matchup, giving the Lady Red Devils as many wins — six — than their previous three seasons combined.

Seniors Lenox Pinczehelyi and Hayley Matthews had four goals apiece and goaltenders Nancy Yanes (11) and Perla De La Cruz combined for 19 saves as Freeport won for the third time in four games and improved to 6-5 overall. Junior Sheilly Duque added two goals and one assists for the Lady Red Devils, who scored seven goals in the second half to pull away after leading by one at intermission.

“We lost 10 seniors from last year’s team but we dropped one conference and are competing against teams at the same level,” second-year coach and Freeport alum Anabel Lopez said. “We’re building up the confidence and team unity. The season has flown by.”

Both Lopez, a 2008 grad, and assistant Michelle Rendon, a 2007 grad, played for the Lady Red Devils as well as at the college level. “We want to get the program back to the level it was when we played here,” Lopez noted. “We’re so invested.”

The win at Great Neck North’s was Freeport’s fifth of eight consecutive road games to close the season. “We started sluggish, but I called a quick timeout to let them know we only have a few games left and they need to give it their all,” Lopez said. “We took over in the second half. They did a great job sharing the ball and were strong on draw controls.”

Pinczehelyi upped her team-leading goal total on the year to 31. She’s headed to Albright College to play at the next level. “Lenox is very aggressive and has a wicked shot,” Lopez said. “She’s an unselfish player and has been assisting on goals.”

Matthews, a standout soccer player headed to Dominican College, has a nonstop motor and takes the lion’s share of draws. She has 13 goals. “She’s a great athlete who hustles all over the field,” Lopez said.

Attack wing Kelcey Woodward (22 goals) is a junior captain and the team’s second-leading scorer. She had four-goal games in March wins over Hempstead and Sewanhaka. “She’s working very hard and always gives a strong effort,” said Lopez, who added Duque is one of Freeport’s most-improved players and setting the tone for a big senior campaign.

Senior Raeesah Lawal is the defensive anchor who also serves as a role model for the younger members of the group. Junior Lesly-Hannah Gutierrez has been a solid defender as well.

In goal, De La Cruz, a senior, has shined in her first year as the starter after getting a taste of varsity action in 2018. She stood out April 4 in a 9-8 win over Kennedy with a career-high 23 saves. “Perla leads us on and off the field,” Lopez said. “She’s always talking and directing the defense.”