Harborfields girls lacrosse needed to be reminded there for a second -- of what they'd worked on all week, of how big those ground balls are and how, with such strong teams standing in the way of them and a title, now would be a pretty good time to make a statement.
And then, "we settled it down on attack," Bridget Greene said. "We were able to maintain our composure . . . and then just trust our training and take it to the cage, and it ended up working for us."
After calling a timeout early in the first half and shaking out the rust, Harborfields most assuredly took it to the cage. Over and over again . . . all the way to a 21-9 win over No. 5 Kings Park Saturday in the first round of the Class B playoffs. Kasey Stolba's spin move to evade two defenders and score with 17:08 left gave the No. 4 Tornadoes a 5-4 lead, one that would last the rest of the game, as Harborfields later scored nine straight goals to end the first half.
The Tornadoes travel to last year's champs, first-seeded Hauppauge, in the semifinal at 4 p.m. Tuesday.
"We pulled it together [on that] timeout," coach Kerri McGinty said. "We said, girls you can do this. Send the slides. It was almost like we had a brief recap of the things we've worked on all week and how to apply them, and once we did that, they were unstoppable. They were on fire."
Harborfields (11-6) dominated on ground balls and forced turnovers, and Greene (five goals, one assist) and Christina Turner (five assists) connected time and again in transition. The duo, which has been playing together for three years, hooked up three times for first-half scores.
"She's an amazing feeder," Greene said of Turner. "She's got a great right and great left hand and she has amazing field sense, I'm so thankful that she's there because honestly, it's Christina Turner who makes me look good on the field."
Sophomore Emily Santoli led Kings Park (10-6) with three goals. Back-to-back goals by Casey Rote and Shannon Mazza gave the Kingsmen their only lead of the game.
The key, Turner said, was a week of intense practice that focused on the Tornadoes' athleticism and strength in transition. "We practiced it really hard," she said. "And we beat them out."
Added Greene: "It's the result all our fitness training during the season. We do a lot of running and a lot of sprinting, and I do believe those 50-50 balls come down to who wants it more."
It was an encouraging sight for Harborfields, which rode a two-game losing streak into the postseason and was determined, McGinty said, to come out loud.
"They wanted it," she said. " . . . It all came together."