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North Shore seeks playoff run

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April 22 marked the first day of lacrosse practice across Nassau County, and the North Shore girls were thrilled to be back on the field preparing for the grind of a Conference I schedule.

“It was a little emotional,” Vikings coach Megan McCormack said. “Everyone is thrilled to be back. It was definitely heartbreaking to tell the girls last spring, especially the four seniors we had, there wasn’t going to be a season. It’s so nice to see the team back together working and uniting.”

North Shore, which reached the Class C semifinals in 2019, will cram 13 conference games into 33 days before recharging the batteries for what McCormack hopes is a long playoff run. “We’re hoping to compete and do well,” she said. “We have a nice mix of experienced players and young talent. Overall, it’s a young team but we have depth.”

Leading the way for the Vikings is a star-studded midfield consisting of senior and Stony Brook University bound Casey Colbert, her younger sister, sophomore Kylee Colbert, and junior Kate Gilliam. Each began their varsity careers as seventh-graders, McCormack said. The Colberts both earned All-County honors last season, and Gilliam was selected All-Conference.

“Casey is huge on the draws for us and a natural leader who can finish as well as distribute,” McCormack said of Colbert, who had 4 goals in a 9-8 win over Long Beach on May 5.

Kylee Colbert brings blazing speed, a hard-to-handle shot and the ability to get to the cage. She’ll also take draws and has a physical side to her game as well, the coach noted. She had six goals in the team’s 9-8 overtime win over Syosset to open the season on May 1. Gilliam, a Harvard commit who also scored in the opener, is a distance runner who never tires, McCormack said, and is smart with the ball on her stick.

The attack features a couple of first-year varsity players. Sophomores Ava Bartoli and Daniella Martini competed at the JV level in 2019 and would’ve made the jump to varsity last spring if the season hadn’t been canceled by the pandemic. “They’re both offensive threats,” McCormack said. “Ava is a playmaker and Daniella is someone who likes to operate behind the cage and in the crease.” Junior Ella Begley is another key piece to the attack.

Defense is where North Shore’s depth could really make a difference. Senior Francesca Corozzo and sophomore Eliza Ritter anchor a unit that includes senior Madalyn Lutz, junior Amanda Ayres, sophomore Maya Best and freshman Hannah Gilliam. Best had the OT winner against Syosset. “Frankie is a great leader and communicator,” said McCormack, who added Ritter is a quick and aggressive defender with a year of varsity experience under her belt as an eighth-grade starter last season.

In goal, junior Allison Ryder is the No. 1 after serving as the backup in 2019. “She works hard and is extremely focused,” McCormack said. Ryder turned aside 10 Syosset shots in the opener.