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May 2, 2019 12:45 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Big Day For Westhampton Beach Girls Lacrosse Ends With 15-5 Victory Over Shoreham

Westhampton Beach seniors Hollie Schleicher, Lindsay Rongo and Paige Rignola presented junior Isabelle Smith with a poster marking her 300th career point she earned earlier this season. DREW BUDD
May 6, 2019 12:24 PM

The Westhampton Beach girls lacrosse team hosted its annual PAL Day on its home turf on May 1, but it was more like Milestone Day.

Prior to playing Shoreham/Wading River, the Lady Hurricanes honored All-American junior Isabelle Smith with a poster noting her 300th career point—a rare milestone in the sport, even for seniors—which she achieved earlier this season. Smith now has just about every scoring record in school history. To go along with her career-point total, Smith also surpassed Hailey Daleo earlier this season in assists with 101, and she holds the high mark in draw controls with 299. She should, either at some point this season, or early next season, surpass her older sister, Alexa, for the goals record, which is 231.

Of course, Smith added to all of those totals last week, scoring six goals and totaling five assists in leading Westhampton Beach (8-3 Division II, 10-3 overall, 141.76 power points) to the 15-5 victory over Shoreham. But the day wasn’t all about Smith, as sophomores Maureen Duffy and Giana Murphy each notched their career 100 points with strong games, as well. Duffy scored three times and assisted on another, while Murphy had a pair of goals and a pair of assists.

“I don’t think people give our younger players that much credit,” Westhampton Beach head coach Mary Bergmann said. “Those sophomores, most of them, are three- or four-year varsity players, so they’re at the same level as a lot of juniors and seniors are going to be. Everyone always talks about Belle—and Belle is a great player, but we also have a great cast around her. Those sophomores are really big-name kids, they just haven’t gotten to the point where people are recognizing that.

“And the fact that we have that many kids hitting those milestones is great because it means they are sharing the ball,” she added.

Bergmann said that Smith will most likely be one of the first girls, if not the first, to ever reach 400 career points on Long Island. After last week’s game, Smith stands at 333 and should reach 400 next season as a senior.

“I’ve never heard of anyone hitting the 400 mark,” Bergmann said. “I’m sure it’s been done, maybe somewhere along the line, but you usually only see it in someone’s senior year. She still has three games, at least one playoff game, and then all of next year, so I can imagine she’ll hit 400 next year.

“I also don’t know of anyone getting [300 career points] and over 100 of those are assists,” Bergmann added. “Many people with 300 points, most of them are goals and they’ve played for weaker teams where they’re counted on for most of the scoring. But we’re playing a competitive schedule.”

Smith is not one to celebrate her accolades on the field, but she appreciated the fact that the team took the time to recognize her accomplishments. All three girls who hit milestones brought it back to their teammates.

“It was just exciting for the whole community to be here today and for my whole team to celebrate it with me because they are the reason I got there,” Smith said.

“My teammates really helped me get there and my goals are their assists,” Duffy said. “It’s a team effort, always.”

“I have to thank my teammates,” Murphy said. “They really help me and believe in me.”

Smith and Duffy were brought up to varsity as seventh-graders. Murphy joined the team as an eighth-grader.

“It’s awesome,” to achieve milestones with her teammates, Smith said. “Mo and I were always known as the babies together, because when she was in seventh, I was in eighth. To come up every single year and be a part of that with her, every milestone she hits is so exciting to be a part of that and know the ball is going in, it’s time for a big celebration. She’s an amazing player, she deserves it 100 percent. Her work ethic, her game IQ. It’s so fun to be on the field with a player like that because they get where you’re going, they understand the game.”

Not to be lost in the shuffle, there were quite a few youth players on hand for PAL Day, many of whom hope to one day follow in the footsteps of Smith, Duffy and Murphy. Smith recalled when she attended the event years back as a fifth- and sixth-grader, looking up to her older sisters, Alexa and Caitlin, who were on the team. As the team’s stat girl in sixth grade, Smith said she looked up to the entire senior class that season.

“I always looked up to them, which is really cool, to not only look up to an amazing player, but also someone who is a part of your family, it’s really something special,” she said. “That whole senior class was all about grit, being all for the team. And because I was the stat girl that year, it was something I’ve been brought up with, that persona of those seniors that year. So all of those girls from that class are always people I look up to, their morals as leaders and their grit on the field.”

As for the game itself, Westhampton Beach opened with six unanswered goals and really didn’t allow a clean shot until late in the first half. The Lady Canes led, 9-1, by halftime, and Smith’s free-position goal with 19:52 remaining, started a running clock with her team leading by 10 goals at 12-2. Senior Hollie Schleicher had a pair of goals and senior Anna McCarthy and junior Toni Cashman also found the back of the net. Taylor Gallarello (three saves) and Casey Gallagher (seven saves) were both equally strong in net for the Lady Canes.

“We knew we were the higher seed, but we also know that Shoreham is a great team, they always have been,” Smith said, in explaining her team’s strong game. “And any game in this division can go any way, so I think especially with it being PAL Day, and we haven’t had a home game in a while, we were fired up all week and we were really excited to be here, and we kind of wanted to once again prove a point that we are here and we are here to stay and we are here to win it all.”

Bergmann, and her players, for that matter, have said all season that they wanted to be playing their best in May, and with the calendar turning over last week, they seemed to kick things into an extra gear. To their credit, though, they’ve been playing well since well before May, not having lost a game since April 11, when they were defeated by West Islip, and winning their past five straight. Westhampton Beach does have a tough final three games this week, when it faced Bayport/Blue Point on Monday, East Islip on Tuesday and then wraps up the regular season at home against West Babylon this Thursday, May 9, at home at 4 p.m.

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