CORTLAND, N.Y. – It took the girls lacrosse team 13 years just to get back to the state championship game, so waiting a few extra hours was no big deal, especially because their long, weather-plagued Saturday at SUNY Cortland ended with them holding a trophy.
The Tigers scored twice in the final 5 minutes, 40 seconds of regulation to force overtime, then used goals from senior Shannon Gilroy and sophomores Allie Breitfeller and Cortney Fortunato, whose dramatic winner came with just 1.3 seconds left, to beat Pittsford, 11-10, for the state Class A crown.
“I was looking at the goalie and knew she was a lefty,” said Fortunato, who converted on a low free-position shot for her second goal of the game. “I wanted go non-stick side but it was a weird angle. I ended up going with my gut and just shooting it.”
She had missed on a couple earlier, this one was true and gave Northport (20-2) its long-awaited championship after it was on the wrong end of one-goal state titles games in 1996 (5-4 to Cicero-North Syracuse) and 1998 (9-8 to Yorktown).
A game that started at 2:30 p.m. ended at 8:56 p.m. because of two weather delays. Pittsford, a first-time semifinalist a year ago from Section V (Rochester), finished 21-1.
“Our team didn’t come here to play through this, lose and give up. We’re all warriors. We played really well and I’m happy,” said Gilroy, the University of Florida-bound senior and fifth-year player.
Her four goals, including the one that tied it with 58 second left in regulation and the go-ahead goal in OT, led the way. But Gilroy hurt her knee on that goal 25 seconds into OT, was carried off the field, and never returned.
Senior Megan Marinelli, who had a couple of key steals late in regulation, and junior Paige Bonomi each had a goal and an assist. After leading 1-0, Northport didn’t lead again until 9-8 in OT.
Play was suspended twice due thunder and lightning. The weather delays totaled 4 hours and 29 minutes. The first suspension came at 2:41 p.m. and after just 68 seconds of play that included Marinelli’s goal. Play resumed at 5:35 p.m. after nearly a three-hour delay, but was halted again at 6:44 p.m. and with just 8:18 left to go and Pittsford ahead 8-6.
The first delay hurt Northport, which watched the Panthers take a 3-1 lead.
“It’s tough to keep the kids focused. We came out flat,” Rainson-Rose said.
But down 8-6 after the second delay (89 minutes), Northport rallied It scored twice in the final 5:40 of regulation.
Freshman Ali Pavinelli raced in to make it 8-7. Then Northport knocked on the door, or goal, literally twice before tying it. Fortunato hit the right post on a free-position shot and then the crossbar on another.
Finally, Gilroy converted on a low shot with 58 seconds left to tie it at 8 and force OT.
“It was hair-raising,” Rainson-Rose said.Teams 1 2 1 OT 2 OT F Northport 5 3 2 1 11 Pittsford 5 3 0 2 10
Goals -- N: Gilroy 4, Fortunato 2, Marinelli 1, Bonomi 1, Magnuson 1, Pavinelli 1, Breitfeller 1; P: Curwin 3, Collins 2, Spoto 2, Turner 1, Schindler 1, Cullinan 1. Saves -- N: Aymong 9; P: Fraum 11.