The Wantagh girls lacrosse team headed into the playoffs with plenty of momentum behind it after picking off two of the top teams on Long Island.
The Warriors began last week with a dramatic 11-10 road win at Manhasset on May 8 with Taylor Carson tallying the winning goal with 19 seconds remaining. Four days later Wantagh defeated Catholic power Sacred Heart in Hempstead by an identical 11-10 score to close the regular season at 9-3. First-year head coach Greg Cody hopes the big finish carries over into the postseason, where Wantagh will be the top seed in Class C.
“My team is playing extremely well right now,” said Cody, who an assistant coach at Long Bach before taking over the Wantagh program this spring. “It was an incredible week for the girls.”
Leading Wantagh’s success against Sacred Heart and throughout the regular season were the team’s four senior captains, attacker Taylor Carson, midfielders Megan Gordon and Alexandra Murphy as well goalie Emma Lemanski. Carson tallied seven goals while Gordon registered two scores and six assists. Murphy stepped up big with 16 draw controls and Lemanski held down the fort in net with 10 saves.
“They have really stepped up and done an excellent job,” said Cody of his captains.
Wantagh led Sacred Heart 11-6 with 15 minutes left before the Spartans mounted a comeback. Cody was proud of how his defense stepped up on defense after a timeout with 1:38 left in the game leading 11-10 to prevent the tying goal on four Sacred Heart shots. Cody said the late stand was helped by Wantagh playing several close games this season with eight of the Warriors’ nine wins coming by three goals or less.
“We’re a tough team that works hard and in the end we pulling out tight games,” Cody said. “Our team is a gritty bunch of hard workers.”
Wantagh pulled out another close victory against Manhasset in a rematch of last year’s Class B semifinals thanks Carson’s late heroics. Murphy and Gordon also stepped up with four goals and three goals, respectively. Junior midfielder Kayla Conway netted two goals in the signature win.
Wantagh received a first round bye as the top seed in Class C and will face the winner of a first round game between Plainedge and Division on Thursday at 4:30 p.m. Cody expects stiff challenges in the playoffs from Cold Spring Harbor, who edged Wantagh 5-4 on March 28, as well as North Shore, Lynbrook and South Side. After winning the program’s first county title in 2015, last year’s senior-laden Wantagh team was defeated in heartbreaking fashion by Manhasset in the Class B semifinals after a tying goal at the buzzer and Cody hopes the team’s drive will ride them back to the championship stage.
“We’re going to be tested by some tough teams in the playoffs,” Cody said. “Other coaches have told me at meetings that I have the hardest working team and that means everything.”