There have been many great moments in the sport of lacrosse for West Islip High School. On Monday, Erin Byrnes added to that list.
The senior attack set a school record with nine goals and assisted on another as the Lions upset No. 3 West Babylon 17-11 in a game played in dreary conditions at West Babylon High School.
“If we didn’t win (on Monday) we were going home and I didn’t want that,” said Byrnes. “We had to go all out.”
With the win, West Islip will make the short drive east to Bay Shore to face the No. 2 seed Marauders in a Division I semi-final contest on Wednesday.
Despite its nail-biting over No. 11 William Floyd on Friday, West Islip head coach Joe Nicolosi was confident that his team could play with West Babylon.
He proved to be correct.
“Even though we lost to them (17-14) earlier in the season, I knew we could run with them,” he said. “We got the hot hand in the second half and did a good job in transition.”
With West Islip leading 5-4 to start the second half, the teams exchanged goals early on. The Eagles (13-2) appeared ready to gain control of the game as it took an 8-6 lead with nearly 20 minutes left in the second half.
But Lions netminder Ruthann Dooling made several key stops to keep West Babylon at bay, which served to shift momentum back to West Islip.
“That was a huge turning point in the game,” Nicolosi said. “Without those saves, they could have scored two or three more goals.”
With Dooling (13 saves) keeping the score close, West Islip’s offense came to life in the second half and lit up the scoreboard with 10 goals in the final 17:45.
“We did a much better job of moving the ball and finding the open player,” Nicolosi said.
Added Byrnes, a team captain, “We started winning more of the draws and kept pressing and pressing hard to come back.”
West Islip scoring: Erin Byrnes, 9 goals/1 assist; Kylie Nowicki 2 goals; Riley Hill 2 goals/2 assists; Cara Douglas, 2 goals/1 assist; Kelsey Allen, 1 goal; Lorraine Hodgson, 1 goal/2 assists; Lindsay Darrell, 2 assists; Kate Beier, 1 assist
1 2 F West Islip 5 12 17 West Babylon 4 7 11