Tori Holland could hear the screams from the bench, her teammates chanting "To-ri, To-ri!" with two seconds left and the St. Anthony's girls lacrosse team needing one more stop from its stopper.
The situation shared some similarities to one last year. Again, the opponent was Garden City, a star with the ball, and the Friars needing a save in the waning moments.
The difference is, last year, it was tied in double overtime and Holland allowed the goal. Yesterday's final save served mostly for bookkeeping purposes since St. Anthony's had a cushion -- but Holland made the save, a crouching deflection, at the horn in the Friars' 14-9 win over host Garden City.
"Last year's loss was really tough because we were right there with them and they got that one at the end," Holland said, referring to Catherine McTiernan's goal that gave the Trojans an 11-10 win and cost St. Anthony's its No. 1 national ranking last April. "This year, we wanted to come out hard and show we're better."
Better. The best on Long Island, perhaps.
Annie Heagerty had five goals and two assists, and Maggie Bill three goals and an assist for St. Anthony's (9-1), which entered ranked fifth in the nation. Holland made 13 saves. Her last, by the way, came off a shot from Alexandra Bruno, the second-ranked attack in the country.
That play, in a way, encapsulated the game and was indicative of the tear St. Anthony's is on. Since losing to Baltimore's Bryn Mawr last Saturday, the Friars have reeled off dominant wins over national powers John Carroll (Bel Air, Md.), Sacred Heart and, now, No. 4 Garden City.
"The loss [to Bryn Mawr] was a setback and unexpected, but we had a good week of practice and regrouped," said Bill, who celebrated her 17th birthday Saturday.
The Friars seized control immediately and went up, 3-0, on Heagerty's second goal just 1:02 in. They took a 9-2 lead 33 seconds before the half when Devin O'Connor sprinted up the right sideline and flipped a cross-field pass to Chrissy Schreiber, who scored from close range.
Alexis Nicolia's goal had St. Anthony's up 12-2 with 22:14 remaining. The Friars' defense seldom allowed easy shots. In fact, two of the Trojans' goals came on off-balance launches and another on an empty-netter after a turnover. Holland praised the efforts of O'Connor, Jillian Fumai, Annie Lynch and Jenny Schwalje.
Bruno scored five goals, Catherine Dickinson and Jenna Fuchs each had a goal and an assist, and Megan McDonald made 10 saves for Garden City (8-3). The Trojans rallied in the second half, but, as coach Diane Chapman said, "You can't fall behind 10 goals to a team of St. Anthony's caliber."
Garden City, which had its 55-game win streak snapped on April 21, has lost three of its last four -- granted, to non-league opponents ranked in the top five. Chapman said she has implored her team to focus on its primary goal: the pursuit of a seventh straight Class B state title.
As for St. Anthony's . . . "We talked a lot about character and how to respond to defeat," Friars coach Corinne Lomangino said. "Our goal this week was to prove to ourselves and everyone what we are."
They're really good.
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