Briarcliff Continues to Build Upon 2022; Yorktown Improves to 5-0

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Lakeland/Panas Edges Pleasantville; Greeley Nips Rye

By Tony Pinciaro
Lakeland Panas junior Isabella Kocaj

A second-half-of-the season surge and semifinal berth in the 2022 Section 1 Class D Girls’ Lacrosse Championships gave BRIARCLIFF momentum going into the offseason.

Briarcliff, 11-8 last year, planned on seizing on this momentum and carrying it into the 2023 season. The Bears have accomplished just that with a 3-1 start, including a recent and thrilling 10-9 win over BREWSTER.

“I think in the beginning of last year we were just learning to mesh with each other so we struggled until everyone got comfortable with and learning how to play together,” said three-year varsity starter and captain Paige Krsulich. “I think we were all very proud of the way we played. Losing to Albertus (Magnus) in the sectional semis was tough, but we knew they were a very good team.”

Briarcliff used its strong second-half of 2022 as motivation for off-season workouts.

“We started our offseason the earliest I can ever remember in lacrosse in my three three years on varsity,” said Krsulich, who will attend Vanderbilt in September and major in Psychology. “We did CrossFit training in November. We played in a winter league in which we had great attendance. A lot of the younger girls were coming and learning to play with us. We have players who are very committed, including girls who played other sports, coming to workouts. Coming into the first week of March, we were really excited to get back into the season.”

Krsulich and her teammates were confident coming into the 2023 season, based on returning all but two graduated seniors. Along with the infusion of new varsity players, the Bears were primed to begin the year with a jolt.

“Everyone coming into this season was aware that we were almost the same exact team returning,” Krsulich said. “We really looked good at the end of last year.”

Georgetown-bound Greeley M Erica Rosendorf eyes up a scoring opportunity in Quakers’ 13-12 win over Rye.

Following wins over Eastchester and New Rochelle and a loss to Class A power Clarkstown South, Briarcliff played a nail-biter with Brewster.

Freshman returnee Nicky Einhorn gave Briarcliff a 9-8 lead with 1:39 remaining in the game. Brewster’s Amelia Walsh evened the score at 9-9 with 45 seconds to go. Briarcliff won the draw and Einhorn fed Adriana Scanga, a returning junior, for the decisive goal with 25 ticks on the clock.

“We knew we needed that draw and possession of the ball,” Krsulich said. “We were positive and all working together. We had three girls who were vital to us winning the draw. Nicky’s look to Adriana was great! Adriana made a beautiful cut, was open and Nicky made a perfect look and pass.”

Einhorn (attack) rang up four goals and the game-winning assist to surpass 100 varsity points. Junior and returnee Diana Jones and Scanga, both midfielders, finished with two goals and an assist apiece. Goalie Dani Siegel handled six shots.

Junior Lily Shafiroff (defense/midfield) is a returning starter along with seniors Riley Hite (attack), Margo Flores (midfield), Ava Swidler (midfield) and Fatihah Islam (attack/goalie).

The quick start against non-league competition has given Briarcliff a confidence boost. Krsulich said this has pushed Briarcliff to play at a high level and is giving the Bears experience for when league action begins.

“We want to keep this momentum going,” Krsulich said. “We want to look good at the beginning of the season as well as at the end of the season.”

YORKTOWN completed a victory hat trick after besting Ursuline (13-8), Albertus Magnus (17-10) and Pelham (15-11), improving to 5-0.

Gianna Altimari and Brie Gaccino led Yorktown against Ursuline with three goals apiece. Annie and Ava Cunneen each had two goals. Ava Cunneen also had six draw controls.

Cunneen registered a career-high six goals against Albertus Magnus. Gaccino netted four goals and Clemson-bound Alex Scialdone scored three goals and added two assists.

Gaccino scored four goals against Pelham and Altimari and Scialdone each had three goals and three assists. Ava Cunneen also scored three goals. Altimari had a team-best nine draw-controls and Annie Cunneen rang up seven draw controls for a Husker squad that has the look of a lean, mean, fighting machine.

LAKELAND/PANAS has opened the season with three wins in its first four games after an offensive display, 15-12 over Pleasantville, and a defensive game, 7-6 win over Clarkstown North.

Isabel Kocaj provided the offense against Pleasantville with a game-high seven goals. Brooke Pizzarello netted four goals and Clare Warren finished with three goals and two assists.

Pleasantville’s Kayla Collins is thwarted by Lakeland-Panas goalie Kaelen Sieja on a free-position opportunity in the first half of Friday’s game won by the visiting Rebels.

Faith Brown scored four goals, Erin Drillock chipped in a hat trick and Rowan Capko had two goals for PLEASANTVILLE.

“Isabel stepped up big against Pleasantville,” said Lakeland/Panas assistant Coach Leah DiSisto, who is filling in for coach Christina Hart while she is on maternity leave. “Isabel was locked in and hungry for the win as soon as the first whistle sounded. I believe she showed her true captain leadership when she flew out of the sub box from her yellow card to score a goal.”

The Rebels’ defense was the deciding factor in the win over Clarkstown North, highlighted by Kaelen Sieja’s eight saves, including the 100th of her varsity career.

Kocaj had a team-best three goals, Warren scored twice and Kaitlyn Wilkowski and Katelyn Kuney had one goal apiece.

“I am very excited about our wins this week,” DiSisto said. “The girls have been working hard and bonding really well. They’re showing great improvements, daily.”

HORACE GREELEY had its 19-game regular-season unbeaten streak stopped by Bronxville, 11-7. The Quakers put the loss behind them and established a seven-goal lead at halftime in a 13-12 win over Rye. The Garnets had a second-half surge, but the Quakers held them off.

“We were able to pull through at the end of the Rye game which shows we can handle the pressure but, at the same time, this shows that there is still more work that needs to be put in,” said senior and captain Erica Rosendorf, who will attend Georgetown in September and also play lacrosse. “Although we aren’t undefeated like the regular season last year, I’m proud of how we played against Bronxville. The final score reflects that we can compete with the top teams. We have prepared all during the offseason so I’m confident we can fight for the section title.”

Carmel sophomore D Jorja Tampuri clears zone against the ride of Mahopac senior A Shaylah Fennessy in Rams’ loss to Indians last week.

Logan Skuro, Rowan Edson and Rosendorf each had hat tricks against Rye and Bae Bounds added two goals. Edson had a team-high five draw-controls and Bounds finished with three.

HEN HUD had a rough start to its week in a 13-7 loss to Rye. The Sailors then faced Class A power Mamaroneck and turned in their best effort of the young season in a 6-5 win.

Senior and captain Madison Porter said the team used the practice before the Mamaroneck game to address what it needed to improve on and off the Rye game.

“During the Rye game we had trouble with draw controls and our stick skills which led to too many turnovers causing lost possessions,” said Porter, a goalie who will attend Eastern Michigan in September and also play lacrosse. “During practice the next day, we captains held a mandatory 45-minute wall-ball session, which showed in the game against Mamaroneck. The rest of practice, Coach Molfetta pushed us past our comfort level, which prepared us for a tough Mamaroneck team.”

Paige Montgomery had a team-leading three goals and Caroline Clark added two against Mamaroneck.

“Mamaroneck was a great game for us,” Porter said. “It was a great test for our younger players to see how they would bounce back from the tough loss. My defense stepped up and played amazing, holding Mamaroneck to one goal in the first half. On offense, Paige stepped up and scored three goals and our senior captain, Caroline Clark, took a beating but came up huge for us in critical moments in the second half, scoring big goals to secure the victory.”

Madison Porter’s older sisters – Mackenzie and Jordan – both attend Missouri Western State University and play lacrosse.

Shawn Rosenblatt and Montgomery each registered three goals against Rye.

Mahopac freshman Ashley Koch draws a quartet of Carmel defenders, including Ram sophomore Taylor Lotz in Indians’ win last week.

MAHOPAC went 1-1 for the week, opening with a win over rival Carmel, 9-8, then dropping a 14-10 verdict to John Jay-East Fishkill.

The Indians overcame Carmel despite playing a man down for more than 18 minutes of the second half after collecting four yellow cards, according to Mahopac Coach Christina D’Amore

D’Amore credited Adrianna Pranzo with kick-starting Mahopac in the second half with her draw controls. Giana Rispoli led the defense, scooping up eight ground balls.

Julianna Mangione paced Mahopac with four goals and Erin Harney and Ashley Koch had two goals apiece. Freshman goalie Amanda Carey made eight saves.
Mangione and Koch each had three goals against John Jay. Mangione also had two assists. Erin Harney scored twice and Hannah Harney added two assists.

CARMEL split a pair of games as the Rams beat Pine Bush, 14-10, but lost to arch-rival Mahopac, 9-8.

Faith Mahoskey led Carmel with four goals against Pine Bush. Sophia King and Kaiyla Gard each had a hat trick, Violet DeLuca contributed one goal and two assists and Julia Lisi won five draw-controls.

The victory was somewhat bittersweet for Carmel Coach Kerry Hackert as it came against former Ram, Caitlin Murphy.

“Caitlin is doing an awesome job and I’m very proud of her,” Hackert said. “Caitlin started playing lacrosse in sixth grade. She was always coachable and was our first player to play Division I lacrosse (Manhattan College).

“For a young coach, she has tremendous presence and great knowledge of the game. We will see more alumni this week as Ashley Heis is the Westlake varsity assistant, Marissa Tambini is the Brewster JV coach and Hannah Aull is the Fox Lane varsity assistant.”

Lisi rang up four goals against Mahopac. Mahosky and Gard each had one goal and one assist.

PUTNAM VALLEY began spring break week with a pair of 18-7 losses – to White Plains and Pawling. However, the Tigers bounced back and beat Valhalla, 11-7, for its first win of the season.

“After a tough two games, we were locked in and we were able to move the ball to the back of the net,” Putnam Valley Coach Amanda Vasta said. “Our defense came ready to play and helped us get this win by stepping up and working together. We caused some crucial turnovers that helped us gain our first win of the season.”

Ella Wendol led the Tigers with five goals against Valhalla. Ava Harman added two goals and one assist, Mia Borchick scored one goal and added two assists and Bella Coletti finished with one goal and one assist.

Harman led Putnam Valley in scoring against White Plains and Pawling with three and four goals, respectively. She also added two assists in the Pawling game.

Wendol collected one goal and two assists against White Plains.

SOMERS is now 2-2 this season after a 19-10 victory over Magnus and a 21-13 loss to Ridgefield (Conn.)

Teagan Ryan scored a game-best six goals against Pelham and also collected four assists. Sydney Ingraham scored four goals, Molly Fink added three goals and four assists and Lauren McCartin finished with 12 draw-controls.

Ryan also scored six goals against Ridgefield. Fink finished with four and Ingraham netted three.

BREWSTER lost a tough one, in the final minute, to Briarcliff, 10-9.

After Amelia Walsh scored her third goal of the game to forge a 9-9 with 45 seconds remaining, Briarcliff netted the winning goal 20 seconds later.

Morgan Brace led Brewster with four goals, Margo Cunningham added two goals and three assists and Lindsay Smith made seven saves.

BYRAM HILLS, 3-1 this season, was off last week. The Bobcats have wins over Westlake (14-13), Keio (15-5) and Pawling (16-3). The loss was to Horace Greeley (15-5).

Anastasia Byrnes has a team-leading 23 goals and Ryan Milim has nine goals.

Examiner-area coaches are encouraged to send game-by-game results and comment to for inclusion in our Girls’ Lax Notebook

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