CROSS RIVER, N.Y. — Many teams have two or three players they rely heavily on to do the bulk of their scoring. The John Jay-Cross River girls’ lacrosse team has a wealth of options and comes at you from all angles.
The Indians exhibited their balanced scoring when seven different players scored in the first half as John Jay exploded for 14 goals and cruised to a 20-14 win over visiting Mahopac on Wednesday.
“It’s definitely one of the most intense (halves) we’ve played (this season),” said Northwestern bound-senior Lauren Murray, who scored four goals. “This was definitely a huge possession game so were kind of happy to get out to a good start and keep the spark alive for that first half. If you have the ball they can’t score. We just wanted to get it as much as possible. Our defense played awesome and so did our attack on the ride.”
John Jay-CR (9-4) held an 11-4 lead after a 5-0 run and was up 14-6 at halftime.
“The draw controls were really good in the beginning,” said junior Sarah Lang, who had a team-high five goals and added three assists. “The transition up and down the field was really quick. When people slid we saw the quick slide inside for the dump and we scored.”
Junior Molly O’Reilly had four goals and three assists. Junior Hannah Wear scored four goals, while Delaney Spencer, Liz Sheeran and Jenna Yasgur added one goal apiece.
“The great thing about our team is that no matter who you pressure, someone else is going to step up,” said Murray, who has 177 career goals and 46 on the season. “So it’s very hard to face guard our team because if I’m getting face-guarded or Kelsey (Davey) or Sarah, we just look for the open cutters.”
John Jay has seven players on the team that have scored 10 or more goals this season.
“It makes it very tough to defend,” Lang said of their multiple offense threats. “A lot of times teams start off face-guarding people like Lauren or Kelsey and then realize that our players will step up because we’re very good across the board with our shooting and have good percentages.”
Lang is second on John Jay in scoring (35 goals) behind Murray and tied for first with O’Reilly in assists (20).
“I would describe myself as someone who gets things done,” Lang said. “I will give you a feed or I will shoot. I just try and put points on the board.”
The draw played a big factor in John Jay’s first half dominance. John Jay gained possession often as both Murray and O’Reilly were solid with draw control.
“A big thing is switching it up,” Murray said of her strategy on the draws. “You don’t really want to let the other girl get too comfortable with what you’re doing. You just try to follow the ball whether you’re sending it to a teammate or yourself.”
Mahopac didn’t go away quietly in the second half. After two goals from Lang to open the half, Mahopac went on a 5-1 run before Lang scored with 11:17 left to make it 18-11.
Senior Alyssa Corace sparked Mahopac (8-3-2) with a game-high six goals. Junior Samantha Karner added four goals. Courtney Shea tallied two goals, while Tori Cirocco and Kaitlin Nolan each had one. Gabriella Anderson made nine saves.
John Jay goalies Clare Hogan and Natalie Reddy combined for five saves.
John Jay has suffered some heartbreaking losses to powerhouse programs this season, including a crushing 15-14 setback against defending Section 1 Class A champion Lakeland/Panas on April 27.
The Indians are hoping to turn those close losses into wins when sectionals arrive.
“I think we have to maybe get over our fear of some of these teams,” Murray said. “Once you get to those one goal games, whether the calls are going your way or not, it’s all mental. It’s all about the possession.”
“It’s just going to have to be determination and finding it inside of ourselves,” Lang said. “It can’t just be an offensive game or a defensive game. It has to be start to finish, all across the field, midfield and everything. Just 100 percent.”
Follow Rob DiAntonio on Twitter @MSGV_RJD