Girls LAX: From Underdogs to County Champs

Savanna Spadalik, Staff Writer

One word to describe the Lady Dalers lacrosse team: underdogs. Losing to Massapequa in the semi-finals last year and getting bumped down to Conference II, Farmingdale Girls Lacrosse was the last thought on everyone’s mind. Starting the 2019 season on March 4th, the one goal and one goal only was to show everyone that Farmingdale Girls Lacrosse was ready to be back on top. Coached by Tracy Weiner, Joanie Buczkowski, and Bob Rhodes, the team had an unstoppable season that they will never forget. Now, fast forward just three months of hard work and dedication, the team is the undefeated conference champs and Nassau County Class A champs.

Unfortunately, with the start of the exciting lacrosse season came with the loss of the team’s warrior princess, Bella. Bella, who was diagnosed with brain cancer, was an honorable member of the team and received the team’s legacy number #6. She sadly passed on March 5th and the entire team’s goal switched from getting back to the top, to playing for Bella. “I believe there is more to being on a team than just x’s and o’s,” says Coach Tracy Weiner. “These girls represent the high school and their town and they need to know that everyone, including young children, looks up to them. The girls play for Bella because we believe that no one should have to fight alone.” To honor Bella and her fight, the team wore yellow bands, representing the color for brain cancer, and hung up a banner with the quote, “No One Fights Alone” every game.

Starting the season off beating an extremely difficult Huntington team 8-7, and Lynbrook team 11-10 in two overtimes, the Lady Dalers knew the potential they had within the team. Senior captains Erin Shimborske, Olivia Mott, Riley D’Andrea, Nicolette Lospitalier, Alexa Riggio, and Amanda Weber led the team tremendously. They were the best role models to look up to and will be dearly missed next year. The team went undefeated in the conference and earned the conference champ title. “After all the hard work, after all the bruises, after our wins, it’s finally nice to see a banner on the big gym wall. We earned it and after we graduate and come back years later, it will remind all of us of what a great season we had,” says junior Kelly Bergersen. The team’s record was 11-0 and their scoring record was 136- 55 in-conference.

As soon as the regular season ended, the team switched gears to prepare themselves for playoff time. The Lady Dalers earned the 4th seed and played the 5th seed, Oceanside, as their first round matchup. The team blew out the Sailors 16-7 and now realized that their next match up was the first seed Syosset Braves. The Dalers knew that this game would be a dog fight and so for a week, the team watched plenty of film of Syosset, trying to break down their strongest players and chase after their weakest players. The day before the game, predictions were revealed – most of which were “Syosset beating Farmingdale.” This fired up the team and so the next day, Farmingdale would do the impossible. The game was filled with thrills, fouls, and goals, but in the end, Farmingdale came out on top beating the #1 seed 11-10.

“What? How was that possible? How does a 4th seed beat a #1 seed?” was all that was said the next day. All that was talked about was how the Lady Dalers lacrosse team is back and it was the best feeling in the world. The Lady Dalers now had to face their long-time rival, Massapequa. The team knew that they not only had to win because it was the county championship, but because it was Massapequa and how they lost last year to them in the semi-finals. The day finally came and the game was a thriller. With the game tied at 8-8, the teams had to go to overtime, meaning whichever team scores first wins. Massapequa won the draw, but turned the ball over. Then, Farmingdale turned the ball over and Massapequa had the ball again. With an amazing check from Nicolette Lospitalier, Reilly Agres cleared the ball to Riley D’Andrea, who ran the ball down the field and with 40 seconds left, scored the winning goal. With the team running towards each other, jumping all in sync, the realization kicked in: we are Nassau County Champs. Farmingdale Girls Lacrosse hasn’t won a county championship since 2014 and was the first ever Conference II team to win a Nassau County title.

Even though the team lost to Northport in the LI Championship, the girls will never forget what they have accomplished. Predictions were broken, upsets happened, laughs and tears were witnessed, but the 2019 season is something that will always be cherished. Most underdog stories are cliche, but this one truly was one that will stick with the Lady Dalers Lacrosse program for the rest of Farmingdale history.