The LILJ had its opening first-round playoff game, as well as six consolation games for the Girls High School Winter League Thursday night at Stony Brook University Indoor and it was filled with plenty of competition. Girls playing in these games ranged from the classes of 2023-2028. Across seven games, fourteen different teams faced off against each other. The stand-alone playoff game was a clash between the defending champs, YJ Spallina and Mt. Sinai. The six consolation matchups featured Smithtown East vs Westhampton JV, Miller Place vs Patriots, St. Anthony’s 23 vs Wantagh, Eastport South Manor vs Comsewogue, Rocky Point vs Shoreham Wading River, and Bayport Blue Point 2 vs YJ Manning.
Game 1: YJ Spallina Wins 13-7 Over Mt. Sinai
The first matchup of the night between YJ Spallina and Mt. Sinai saw its first goal of the night scored quickly into the first half by Ava Meyn to set the tone for YJ Spallini giving them an early 1-0 lead. Taylor Cline quickly retaliated, scoring the first of her five goals on the night. Meyn would come back to score again off a feed from Molly Hiney. The back-and-forth continued as YJ Spallina scored goals from midfielders Aubrie Eisfeld, Amelia Brite and Reese King. On the other side of things, Mt. Sinai had a first-half hat trick from Cline and a goal by Alexa Spallina totaling an 8-4 first-half lead for YJ Spallina. In the second half, the momentum carried over for YJ Spallina as they started to pull away with Emily Clemons, Meyn and Eisfeld leading the charge with a team-leading five goals for the game to pull away with a 13-7 victory. YJ Spallina will play the winner of Smithtown West and Bayport 1 in the semifinals.
Game 2: Smithtown East Wins 12-7 Over Westhampton JV
In the second game of the night, Smithtown East came out firing with an early 4-0 lead. The first goal was rifled in by Ava Arceri, which was immediately followed by another goal where Arceri went airborne with a shot through the bottom left corner of the net. Alexis Savage would go on to follow Arceri with a goal of her own, but the rest of the first half was all Arceri as she led the team with an astounding seven-goal, eight-point first half leading the pack to a commanding 8-2 lead. As for Westhampton JV, Nikki Lee and Rhylee Kirschner were the lone scorers in the first half each having one goal. Jayden Piraino started the second half with a goal of her own. Westhampton JV started to chip away a bit with goals from Maiya Boughal, Lee and Kirschner, but Smithtown East was too much to handle and came away with a 12-7 win. Ava Arceri dominated the game with a game-high nine points.
Game 3: Miller Place Wins 7-3 Over Patriots
The third game of the night was a matchup between Miller Place and the Patriots. Isabella Luisa struck first for Miller Place, but Peyton Phillips knotted the game up at one shortly after. Gulia Francese, Angie Efstathiou and Hayden Young took the lead back for Miller Place each with a goal to cap off a 4-2 lead going into halftime for Miller Place. The defense in the second half from Miller Place was too strong as goalie Natalia Altebrando and the Panthers’ defense only allowed one goal in the second half, leaving the remaining three goals for the night more than enough to emerge victorious over the Patriots.
Game 4: Wantagh Wins 19-10 Over SA 23
In the fourth game of the night, Wantagh jumped out to an early 3-0 lead with goals from Sienna Diglio, Olivia Nicholson and Julia Nicholson. After two unanswered goals, Tess Calabria put St. Anthony’s on the board for the Friars’ first goal of the game. Julia Nicholson followed with another goal a few minutes later. After the first half, the goals kept coming for Wantagh as they expanded their lead to 10-4 over St. Anthony’s. Julia Nicholson didn’t let her guard down, as she opened the second half with a quick goal off a nice pass from Madison Alaimo. Wantagh controlled the rest of the game by holding their own on the defensive side of the ball with some forced and unforced turnovers, all while keeping their feet on the gas pedal on the offensive end, ultimately coming away with a statement 19-10 win over St. Anthony’s.
Game 5: Comsewogue Wins 9-8 over Eastport South Manor
The fifth game was a nail-biter until the end between Comsewogue and Eastport South Manor. Early in the game, Gabby Constant started things off by taking the ball and scoring it into the lower half of the cage within the first minute of the game. ESM tied things up with great ball movement which eventually led to a Kassidy Miller goal. The whole first half was a back-and-forth matchup between each team, a goal from one team followed by a retaliation goal from the other. Comsewogue entered the break with a 6-5 lead over ESM at the hands of a goal from Constant with thirty seconds left. The back-and-forth continued in the second half when Amanda Sweeney scored an equalizing punch through Comsewogue’s defense. Constant picked up right where she left off with another response to ESM. Mischa Fernandez capped off the scoring for Comsewogue at nine leading to a 9-8 thrilling win over Eastport South Manor.
Game 6: Rocky Point Wins 14-13 Over Shoreham Wading River
With another game in store between Rocky Point and Shoreham Wading River, this game did not disappoint with another down-to-the-wire match. SWR opened the game on a free-position shot from Grayce Kitchen. Rocky Point responded with goals from Kylie Lamoureux, Grace Curtain, Kayleigh Moeller, Anna Wood and Lillian Wood. Rocky Point entered the second half with a 7-4 lead over SWR. Shoreham Wading River showed resiliency by going on a 7-1 run coming out of halftime with goals from Madison Herr, Anabel Keegan, Alexa Guinther, Abigail Beran, Hailey Lewkovich and two from Charlotte Erb. Rocky Point responded with a run of their own evening things up at 11 late in the second half. Both teams went pound for pound until Fiona Vu was finally able to secure the win for Rocky Point in a 14-13 victory.
Game 7: YJ Manning Wins 16-3 Over Bayport Blue Point 2
To wrap up play on Thursday night, YJ Manning ran away with a win over Bayport Blue Point 2. Throughout the first half, Bayport Blue Point was overmatched, scoring their first goal of the night with thirty seconds left in the first half by Kailey Bruckner. YJ Manning scored eight unanswered in the first half as their offense and defense came to play. The first half for YJ Manning included a hat trick from Kate Atkinson and goals from Alyssa Lorefice, Ashlynn Renkowski, Sophia Masone, Sophia Buffardi and Skylar Kilfeather. YJ Manning built on their first-half momentum with another eight-goal half. Kate Atkinson led the team with four goals. Bruckner was the only scorer for Bayport adding two more goals in a 16-3 conclusion.
The LILJ WHSL first-round playoff was a great kickstart to this weekend as play will continue on Saturday and Sunday at Stony Brook University Indoor.