After a regular season record of 9-6, the Port Washington Vikings girl’s lacrosse team brought strength, but fell short in the Nassau Class A Finals on May 31. The Vikings’ season came to an end as they lost to Massapequa High School with a final score of 10-5.
Senior Rebecca Rosen believes that the only edge Massapequa had was the team’s experience in the playoffs.
“Their experience was an advantage in the finals,” Rosen said. “We lost five starting seniors with the graduating class of 2017, so this year was a process of building. Our younger players stepped up big and made an impact that they will bring to the table next year, but as younger team, we had less experience than Massapequa.”
Fortunately, the Vikings were still able to advance to the finals after beating Syosset High School with a score of 8-6 in the semi-finals on May 17. The first half of the semi-finals was all Vikings as they scored a total of eight goals. Rosen was able to pick up a hat trick in her second consecutive game.
“It wasn’t my goal [to score a hat trick], I just went with the flow of the game. At the start of the semi-finals, we had a lot of momentum I tried to take advantage,” said Rosen. “We had some nice movement and cuts on offense, so when a lane was open to the goal, I took it. In the moment I wasn’t really aware of the goals, just of the team’s early success collectively.”
Head coach Kaitlyn Carter and Rosen commented on the team’s performance in the second half of the game.
“I was nervous and really mad that my girls didn’t score in the second half, but it was fine because they [Vikings] ended up pulling out the win, but it was very, very nerve-wracking to watch,” Carter said. “[Syosset] ended up changing their draw-girl who was who we planned on facing up against originally, but she [the coach] didn’t have her taking the draws off the bat but when she did, she was winning all of the draws. So I told the girls to not force the ball, but I think they took that as to not shoot.”
Rosen explicated what she saw from Syosset High School during the semi-finals game.
“Syosset has a very strong offensive team. In the first half, we were dominating the draw and converting those possessions into goals. This limited possible scoring chances for Syosset. However in the second half, Syosset changed their player on the draw, so the possession became closer to 50/50. Additionally our team was trying to slow down the game, we were up so there was no rush to score. Although it did get close at the end, I was confident in my team on defense and in the offensive possession that we would pull out on top,” Rosen said.
Carter is in her fourth year as head coach for the Port Washington Vikings. Carter played lacrosse at Adelphi University and had quite the glamorous career. She won the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Rookie of The Year award in 2008, was a division II ECAC All-Star in 2008 and made the NCAA Division II All-Tournament team in 2010. With all of the awards she earned in her college career, she said that you don’t need to be the most skilled player in order to succeed.
“In my opinion you don’t necessarily have to be the best lacrosse player/team to succeed, you just have to want it more,” said Carter. “I tell the girls all the time if you believe you’re the best, you become the best.”
Carter’s coaching philosophy is unique as she sees regular season games as practice.
“I always say that the regular season is just practice for playoffs. Practice doesn’t have to be overkill, if they don’t know to win at this point, a three-hour practice today is not going to make a big difference,” Carter said. “What they need to do is stay fresh, stay excited, dot the I’s and cross the T’s. I’m not going to have them out there for three hours when I can get the same job done in an hour and a half, the whole season was for them to practice.”
Even though the season ended earlier than the Vikings wanted it to, Carter is proud of her team.
“What I saw from this team this year was hustle and heart,” Carter said.