The concept that "defense wins championships" is applicable to girls lacrosse might draw a chuckle or scoff. The game, by its design and rules, is geared for scoring.
Hauppauge, though, doesn't play that. The Eagles captured their first Suffolk Class B title last season in large part because of a defense that yielded 5.95 goals per game, including six contests in which opponents were held to three or fewer.
At the center of that is Stephanie Peragallo, the second-ranked defender in the country. Yes, country. Not county.
"Defending is more so a mind game than skill; you have to be smart," Peragallo said. "The game is designed for attacks to shine, so you have to be aware of all they can do, anticipate and stop it . . . In lacrosse, especially girls, there aren't too many things you can do to take the ball away."
Peragallo found a way, forcing 66 turnovers and had 63 ground balls, which she attributes to hustle. "On the 50-50s and ground balls, you have to want to get it," she said. "The team that controls possession is gonna win."
As Hauppauge has shown.