Madison brings 'A' game to win 'B' lax title
Madison midfielder Jasmine Fermin has a simple approach if she wins a faceoff – use her blinding speed and drive past any defender in her path to get to the cage.
That philosophy worked for the senior who tormented Long Island City defenders Sunday morning, scoring four of her game-high seven goals in the first half as Madison exploded to beat LIC, 15-8, to win the PSAL Class B title at Aviator Sports Complex.
“I wanted to use my speed to my advantage and on the faceoff, because there are less people on the defense,” Fermin said. “If I try to sprint in one time, there’s a better chance of scoring than scoring against seven people.”
Mercedes Diaz added three goals and defender Lissette Lugo scored twice as Madison (13-1) earned the championship in its fourth year on the varsity level.
Knights coach Gerald Scaccia says it was a tough going at first developing the program. The team went through growing pains by just winning three games over the course of two seasons.
Things started to come together when Madison was dropped to the newly created Bowl Division last year. The team began to jell and won 11 games before losing to Hunter College HS, 9-8, in last year’s final.
With the team returning six key seniors and adding some new talent, Scaccia said the Knights had the chemistry and talent to take the next step.
“It was a big step for us,” Scaccia said. “The girls knew it and it ate at their craw, because one goal is a lot to swallow. They came out and made a statement early this year. They were consistently over the last two seasons as a team, and they put it together today.”
Fermin said anytime her teammates played this season, they took the memories of losing at Aviator last May as a motivating factor.
It didn’t take long for the top-seeded Knights to warm up. Madison was up 2-1 in the first half when Stephanie Escala took a feed from Mary Leah Bartolme to even the game for the Bulldogs with 14:58 left.
Madison took the momentum from that point on. Lugo scored her first off the restart to put the Knights up 3-2. Fermin then used her legs to speed past six defenders to score her first of the game and teammate Ana Beriashvili added another goal for the Knights with 10:54 left in the first half.
Fermin, who scored a team-high 41 goals in the regular season, won the next three opening faceoffs and promptly dashed downfield each to score three in a row as Madison took a commanding 9-2 lead at halftime.
“Jasmine never fails to disappoint in any game,” Diaz said. “She puts everything into it. She runs down the field. She can do it all by herself if she can.”
Madison also did a solid job defensively by holding Long Island City (10-3) scoreless for a 23-minute span between the first and second halves. Brenda Vergaray scored a team-high three goals, but Chantell Chimbo, the leading scorer in the Bowl Division with 64, was held scoreless until finding the back of the net with five seconds remaining.
Diaz stuck around after the game hoping the boys lacrosse team would complete a Bowl title sweep. The Madison boys would ultimately lose 3-2 to Lehman in two overtimes, but it would not overshadow a great day for the Lady Knights.
“It feels great,” Diaz said. “This is exactly what we wanted, to make it here. We busted our butts. We did everything we could to make it here. I think we got along well, played together and we understood each other perfectly.”