The Pearl River Pirates made no secret of their goal to win a section championship this season.
They also made sure they cashed in when they had the opportunity to fulfill it.
Pearl River defeated Pleasantville, 15-10, in the Section 1, Class C Girls Lacrosse Championship Game Wednesday at Yorktown High School.
“They came up huge defensively, again," Pearl River Coach Laurie Mayernik said of her team. "We accomplished our goal. It’s the first time Pearl River has won sections. We made history today and I’m just so proud of all of them.”
“Coach Mayernik has been awesome," Pearl River senior captain Lauren Cook said. "I’ve wanted this for four years, but she’s wanted it for 10. She wanted this as much as we did. I am proud to have been a captain of this team. I knew it was an important role coming into the season. We [team captains Cook, Maddie Wilson and Colleen Clarke] just tried to lead as best we could and push through obstacles.”
Cook and Wilson came through offensively for the Pirates. Wilson led the way with six goals and an assist. Cook added four goals and three assists.
Pleasantville Coach Allison Steinberg played her high school lacrosse for Mayernik at Pearl River.
“If it was going to be anyone other than us, I’d want it to be them,” Steinberg said. “Coach Mayernik really deserves it. She’s built a great team over there. They have a very strong transition and they were just quicker than us.”
The game was tight early. Pearl River scored first in the game, but Pleasantville registered the next three. Down 3-1, the Pirates huddled, regrouped and went on to score four goals in a row to take a 5-3 lead.
Pearl River seemed to be settling into a nice groove and looked to pull away, but Pleasantville responded with a pair of goals that tied the game up 5-5, causing Mayernik to take her first time out.
“Coming out in a big game like this, I think they were just a little nervous when things first got going,” said Mayernik. “We got into a quick huddle. They just needed to breath and settle down.“
The time out was called at the 8:48 mark in the first half. Whatever Mayernik said worked. The Pirates won the draw and scored in just eight seconds. Lauren Cook added another just 25 seconds later and the Pirates went on the run they needed. They scored four more in the first half and didn’t allow a goal for over 13 minutes after the time out, taking an 11-5 lead to the break.
"Lauren [Cook] and I looked at each other at halftime and couldn’t help but smile," Wilson said. "We had the lead and we knew we were close.”
Pearl River sophomore goalie Delia White was not tested much in the first half, but her number was called in the second half. After pullng out to a 15-7 lead with 14 minutes remaining, the Pirates took their foot off the gas and played a game of keep away. As it often does in sports, this took the Pirates out of their rhythm and gave Pleasantville a bit of life.
Pleasantville scored three in a row and cut the lead to just five with over eight minutes remaining. White only made five saves on the day, but four of them came within a span of about 90 seconds, which stifled Pleasantville’s efforts.
“All of us knew that we were in for a battle today and Pleasantville came out fighting hard,” said Pearl River’s Maddie Wilson. “Delia came up big for us again, we all love her so much; when she makes a save, it’s like we are all making a save.”
“I think we just got a little tired out there,” said Pleasantville captain Meghan Reda. “We told each other in the beginning that we just needed to give it our all and we did. It was a win-win in our minds; we made it the furthest Pleasantville ever has. It a sad, but still kind of happy moment. It’s been an amazing experience.”
In the end, the combination of a quick transition, aggressive offense and a resolute defense that unlocked a championship for the Pirates.
“This is the best feeling in the world," Clarke said. "Delia has been our only goalie this season and she has stepped up every time we’ve needed her. I want to thank Coach Mayernik for everything and (Assistant Coach Damon) O’Keefe. They’ve been a big reason why we’ve made it this far.”
Pearl River (15-4-1) will turn its attention to the state tournament when it plays in the Regional Finals 6 p.m. June 4 at Fox Lane High School against the winner of a regional semifinal game between the champions of Section 2 and Section 9. The NYSPHSAA (state) semifinals are at noon June 10 at SUNY Cortland's Red Field, with the championship game at noon the following day on the same field.
Pleasantville (17-2), which had been the No. 1 seed in the tournament, fell for only the second time this season.
Pearl River 15, Pleasantville 10
Goal Scorers: P – Kristina Howe 3, Meghan Reda 2, M. Howe 2, Liz King 2, Borges; PR –
Maddie Wilson 6, Lauren Cook 4, Kiera McMullan 3, Kaity Creagh, Jessica Mayernik
Assists: P – Reda 2, King, Howe; PR – Allison Cook 2, Lauren Cook 2, Wilson
Saves: P – Figler 7; PR – Delia White 5
Additional Post-Game Comments
- “Kiera is absolutely amazing, I can’t say enough about what she has done for us. " – Maddie Wilson speaking of teammate Kiera McMullan, who scored three goals in Wednesday's championship game
- “It’s all about being a part of it. I just want to contribute. This team is great, the defense has protected me all year. I’m thankful to my coaches and I couldn’t ask for anything more.” – Delia White
- “First of all, I don’t like to lose, so that is a big motivation. I’m motivated defensively to get the ball back for my team. If someone gives it up, I try to get it back. They have my back and I have theirs. Winning with this senior class is really special. They’re the best. Coach Mayernik is great and she has a great balance with Coach (Damon) O'Keefe.” – Kiera McMullan