On Wednesday, April 24th, Northport hosted Riverhead in the Making Waves String King Game of the Week. This pre-season #1 vs. #2 match-up created an electric environment that drew a crowd in the hundreds. Fortunately for Northport fans, they came out to witness one of their team’s best performances of the year.
Northport established a commanded 9-2 going into the half. After continuing to dominate the draw, Northport continued to make waves by making big defensive stops, pushing in transition, executing in the offensive end. The final, 18-6, Northport wins.
This team is fast, forward, and fysical.
Fast – The 1-2 combination of Olivia Carner and Danielle Pavinelli at the midfield is second to none. With Pav dominating the draw control and Carner a vacuum on ground balls, this team rarely losing the battle on the circle. Emerson Cabrera’s young padawan sister, Elle, is a great compliment to Carner and Pavanelli. Their ball movement is so crisp and precise. They also have so much IQ on the field they are able to play at a speed that is second to none in Suffolk County.
Forward – Having such a great stopper and intelligent goalie in Claire Morris, Northport is able to get the ball up and out of their defensive end in a flash. This is when Coach Carol Rose’s Tigers start to pick up speed and move forward up the field for transitional opportunities. Having a skilled, savvy attack allows Northport to turn slow break opportunities into fast ones, executing before defenses even have a chance to get back into the eight and match-up.
‘Fysical’ – We’ve created this word just for Northport. This team plays within the rules, but also plays tough, tenacious, and aggressive lacrosse. Their aggression comes when they make saves and push up the field. Aggression comes when they get out on people and pressure the ball on defense. They are also very aggressive at winning the whistle by taking advantage of High School’s new self-start rule.
With Northport playing their best lacrosse right now, they are definitely our favorite to get out of Suffolk County and compete for unfinished business. If Carner remains healthy, this team has all the pieces to go the distance. Shout out to Offensive Player of the Game and Young Gun, Kaylie Mackiewicz who dropped five goals and had two assists against the Wave. College coaches should definitely right this young ladies name down.
Riverhead is skilled, sound, and susceptible.
Skilled – The skill on this team is obvious. With over 60% of their roster being Juniors, Riverhead is probably a year away from making noise in Conference A. That being said, one of the most skilled players on this team is a Senior. Kayla Kielbasa is your do it all player who has the skill, IQ, and leadership to help push this team beyond expectations. I know Kayla is watching this Northport game on film with her coaches to figure what they can do to improve as we approach playoffs.
Sound – Riverhead has some really nice players throughout the field. Katie Goodale on defense is the most impressive defender on this team. She is a vocal leader, super athletic, and has the competitive edge needed to hang with the Northport’s of the world. Riverhead’s Senior leadership also resides on the defensive end in Nicol Scioscia, Ella Mallanga, and Claudia Brown. The Wave have a very strong midfield, starting with the Kielbasa Sisters, Kayla and Megan. Conroy and Rizzo are key cogs to help gain possessions at the circle. Riverhead’s attack is skilled and steady when they get offensive possessions.
Susceptible – Having a small Senior class can be good or bad thing. It’s important to have all your Seniors step up if you have that small Senior class. If they don’t underclass’wo’men are left to do the heavy lifting during some pressure packed game situations. While Riverhead is strong individuals at midfield and on defense, they definitely got exposed at the draw, with their transitional defense, and playing 7v7 defensively. Northport went with a spread offense which gave their athletes more space to dodge, and time to read and react to Riverhead’s backer defense. Lastly, Megan Kielbasa was virtually taken out of the game by Northport’s lock. This was a really good move by the Tigers being Megan is one of the most versatile players in the conference.
While Northport played some of their best ball, Riverhead did not. I’d like to see a repeat of this contest come playoff time. I’m sure the score will be tighter and Riverhead will be more competitive. Overall, it was a treat to watch two great programs battle it out at Northport’s beautifully renovated turf stadium.