By Gene Morris
LILacrosseNews.com, Posted 5/19/12
All game long the host Middle Country girls’ lacrosse team opened up big leads on Half Hollow Hills in their Suffolk County first-round playoff game Friday.
The Wolverines started the game on a 5-0 run but led just 6-3 at halftime. With just 7:30 remaining in the game Nikki Ortega (four goals, two assists) scored a goal to put Middle Country up 17-9.
Half Hollow Hills responded again to that deficit, reeling off six straight goals to cut the deficit to 17-15 with just 1:10 remaining.
But the valiant comeback was not enough as the eight-seeded Wolverines (10-7) held on for the 17-15 win to advance to the quarterfinals Monday at top-seeded Ward Melville.
“I just wanted to try and stop it by winning the draw and killing the clock,“ Middle Country head coach Lindsay Dolson said. “That’s what our plan was. We just wanted to get the ball and kill it.
Rosie Neiva, who had five draw controls overall, was finally able to secure a face off and Middle Country was able to run the remaining time off the clock.
“I just thought maybe it could possibly happen – we were down 17-9 and all of a sudden we score six goals in a row and it’s 17-15 and the game has changed tremendously,” Hills (6-10) head coach Lori Graham said. “It just was a little too late. Our girls played hard, we just didn’t come out on top today.”
The Half Hollow Hills offense was paced by Alexa Maffucci, who scored seven goals and assisted on two others. Dolson knew they would have to contain the high scoring Maffucci, sending defenders at the high scoring attack and face guarding her for most of the game.
Middle Country also made a change in the starting lineup according to Dolson, inserting 7th grader Rachel Masullo into the midfield to give the team a spark.
“She’s really fast – you wouldn’t really recognize her on the field but she did a lot in transition,” Dolson said. “The speed just helped with our attack.”
Middle Country moves onto face No. 1 seed Ward Melville on Monday afternoon.
Middle Country 17, Half Hollow Hills 15
Middle Country: 6-11-17
Half Hollow Hills: 3-12-15
Nikki Ortega: 4 goals, 2 assists
Heather Ferchland: 3 goals, 1 assist
Jessica Kravitz: 3 goals, 2 assists
Jamie Ortega: 3 goals, 2 assists
Shannon Coleman: 3 goals, 2 assists
Rosie Neiva: 1 goal
Rachel Masullo: 1 assist
Kenya Scott: 1 assist
Haley Ferchland: 1 assist
Lauren Young: 17 saves
Half Hollow Hills:
Alexa Maffucci: 7 goals, 2 assists
Ally Mackover: 2 goals, 2 assists
Jillian Cornetta: 2 goals
Jenn Casadonte: 2 goals
Casa Pascarella: 1 goal
Gina Dolici: 1 goal
Jillian Rocco: 9 saves