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Newsday:Suffolk girls breakdown, rankings & players to watch

Posted Monday, March 23, 2009 by Jill Okurowski
From Newsday:

Suffolk girls breakdown, rankings & players to watch


Defender Katie Ciaci leads Division I favorite Northport (18-3), which is looking to advance to its second straight Class A Long Island championship, into the 2009 girls lacrosse campaign. Ciaci will have to be at her best in front of freshman goalie Michaela Aymong, who has no varsity game experience. Yet coach Carol Rose thinks Aymong will be up to the task.

"She makes great decisions and she's very poised for her age," Rose said. "Playing for a club team [the Yellow Jackets] year round should help her transition."

Upfront, the Tigers will rely on Devon Rhodes (68 goals, 33 assists) and the sophomore Rose calls "the franchise," Shannon Gilroy, who broke out with 73 goals last season, including seven in the county title game. Northport's starting lineup will include five sophomores, one freshman and one eighth-grader.

West Islip (16-2) will challenge for the division title behind a more experienced group with nine returning starters, including seniors Cassie Campasano, Sara Sangiorgio and Chiara Speziale, who all scored at least 28 goals last season.

"I don't have one superstar," coach Joe Nicolosi said. "Everyone plays their role."

That includes senior defenders Olivia Ziegler and Paige Engeldrum, who will protect returning goalie Sallibeth Finnegan.

After a 9-10 campaign, Ward Melville should be back in the hunt with the return of honorable mention All-American Makenzie Hommel, who missed all of last season with a torn ACL. Paired up with Jenny Granger (64 goals), this duo could lead the Patriots to a championship. Attack Kelly Naslonski and goalie Jen Walsh will also play key roles.

Bay Shore (14-5) has six returning starters, including All-Long Island selection Gabrielle Wiegand (86 goals, 36 assists) and Alexa deLyra, who will play at Northwestern next year.

Alyssa Murray had 136 points (62 goals, 74 assists) for West Babylon (15-5) last season and is the leader among the Eagles' 10 junior starters.

Smithtown East (9-8) will be a force behind Rutgers-bound goalie Lily Kalaty, midfielder Demianne Cook and talented freshman Nicole Daniggelis.

Lindenhurst (12-7), behind attacks Nicole Moran and Kelsey Russo, Floyd (11-8), with Hofstra-bound Jackie Ardolino, and Commack (8-9), behind Kelsey Dlugos, should all be in the playoff mix

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