It’s been a long road back to the state championship game, but the girls lacrosse team finally made it. The Tigers are in the big game for the first time since 1998 after dispatching Section I champ Lakeland/Panas, 18-5, in a state Class A semifinal Friday at SUNY-Cortland.
Northport sophomore attack Cortney Fortunato exploded for nine goals, including the first four of the game as the Tigers built an 11-2 halftime lead against a team that played in the state final last season.
Northport’s fifth trip to state Final Four has the Tigers (19-2) one step away from the program’s first championship. Coach Carol Rose, the winningest girls lacrosse coach in state history, lost in the state final in 1996 and ’98.
The Tigers advance to face Section V champ Pittsford (21-0) for the title Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at Cortland. Pittsford dispatched West Genesee, 9-7, in the other semifinal.
Against Lakeland (16-4-1), Northport got contributions from eight players on offense. Shannon Gilroy (2), Kiera McNally (2), Allie Breitfeller, Megan Marinelli, Ali Pavinelli, Dorrien Van Dyke and Jessica Nelson each scored.
Little wonder: The Tigers have outscored the opposition 85-31 in five games this postseason.
Goalie Michaela Aymong made 11 saves in 42 minutes of work.Teams 1 2 F Northport 11 7 18 Lakeland/Panas 2 3 5
Goals – N: Fortunato 9, Gilroy 2, McNally 2, Breitfeller 1, Marinelli 1, Pavinelli 1, Van Dyke 1, Nelson 1; L: Jeszeck 2, Bonnes 2, Melissa Hanson 1. Saves – N: Aymong 11, Kollmeier 2; L: DiDomizio 3, Lopez 5.