YORKTOWN, N.Y. — Lakeland/Panas left rival Yorktown in the dust on Wednesday at Charlie Murphy Field.
The Rebels (6-0-1) peeled out to an early 5-0 lead and never looked back, coasting to a convincing 15-7 victory. L/P has now won three of the past five meetings between the two Section 1 powers.
“Coming out against a team of the same caliber, you have to get the first step,” L/P senior captain Alexa Bonnes said. “If you don't get the first step, you fall behind and it's hard to catch up. That five-goal lead set the pace for the game.”
The UConn-bound Bonnes tallied three goals, including the 100th of her career. She reached the milestone in stunning fashion, producing the top play of the Section 1 girls lacrosse season to date. Bonnes cut into the heart of Yorktown's defense, absorbed contact, went airborne and and managed to sidearm the ball into the net as she fell to the turf. The epic goal extended L/P's lead to 12-5 with 14:29 left in the second half and acted like an exclamation point to a throughly dominating performance.
“It's a big accomplishment,” said Bonnes, who also added an assist. “There are many other teams where girls get way more goals, but we are more of a team that works off each other. It's not a one-person team. It's a milestone, but everyone else gets their glory, too.”
While Bonnes was clearly being modest, she was also telling the truth.
L/P got contributions from all over its lineup. Senior standout Emma Bozek led the charge with a game-high four goals and two assists. She sparked the early 5-0 run just one minute and 57 seconds into the opening half with an unassisted goal. Fresno State-bound senior Chyna Hill also had a big impact, burning Yorktown in transition to the tune of three goals. Hill scored off the opening draw of the second half to extend L/P's lead to 10-5. Amanda Vasta (2G), Megan Bradbury (1G), Taylor Scialdone (1G) and Molly Fitzpatrick (1G) rounded out of the offensive production for the Rebels.
“The key was moving the ball and eventually we would find an open player,” said Bozek, who will play field hockey next year at the University of North Carolina. “We would take the opportunities we were given and finish them.”
Rebels coach Sharon Sarsen was pleased with her team's unselfishness and overall offensive flow.
“We spread it around and had contributions from many different people,” Sarsen said. “Everyone knows they have to shut off Alexa and Emma, but when you have other kids doing different things it really helps.”
Defensively, the big story was the play of first-year starting goalie Amelia Lopez. The junior made a career-high 16 saves and limited Yorktown to just two second-half goals — the second of which came with two seconds left in regulation.
“Amelia played phenomenal,” Bozek said. “The score could have been so different if she hadn't played the way she played. We are so proud of her and are really thankful to have her back there.”
The seven goals matched a season-low for Yorktown's offense, which entered the matchup averaging 14 goals a game. The Rebels limited leading scorers Stefanie Ranagan (2A) and Gaby Berne (1G) to a combined three points. Emalee Mongno paced the Huskers with a team-high three goals and one assist. Teammates Bianca Raniolo (1G, 2A), Emily Concialdi (2G) and Kara Starkey (1G) also contributed.
According to Yorktown coach Ellen Mager, the Huskers (4-4) had a hard time escaping the early hole due ineffective play on the draw.
“If you don't get possessions, you are going to have a hard time in this game,” Mager said. “(L/P) killed us on the draw. They finished some shots early. The couple of possessions we had we either turned it over or the goalie saved it. There's not a lot to say. It's hard to win when you don't have the ball.”
The Huskers managed to make a game of it late in the first half, going on a three-goal run to trim L/P's lead to 6-4 at the 3:05 mark. Mongno powered the surge with a pair of goals. In what was the game's overlying theme, however, the Rebels answered back with a run of their own, pumping in three straight goals to grab a 9-5 lead at the break.
“We kept up the intensity,” Bonnes said. “If (Yorktown) got a step ahead, we got two steps ahead. We made a goal as a team that they weren't going to get more than two goals in a row without us scoring or something major happening for us. I think that mentality — and having that in the back of your mind when you are playing — really helped us.”
Overall, L/P looked like the crisper, hungrier team. For a Yorktown program that prides itself on technical skills, the sloppy showing was an aberration. The Huskers, who have now dropped three of their last four games, will look to sharpen up before Monday's rematch against the Rebels at Lakeland High School.
“We have to work on our stick skills,” Mager said. “We turned the ball over a tremendous amount. We didn't put the shots on that we had. They had three studs on that team and those kids played really big and we didn't have an answer.”
GAME NOTES: Alexa Bonnes leads Lakeland/Panas in scoring with 39 points (27G, 12A), while Emma Bozek is second with 30 points (15G, 15A). Stefanie Ranagan leads Yorktown with 40 points (25G, 15A).
Follow Isaac Cass on Twitter @MSGV_Icass