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Three Long Islanders lead North Carolina to win in NCAA women’s lacrosse championship

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Three Long Islanders led the charge as North Carolina women’s lacrosse capped off an undefeated season Sunday with a 12-11 win over Boston College in the 2022 NCAA Women’s Lacrosse Championship.

Sam Geiersbach of West Babylon led the Tar Heels in scoring with a hat trick, earning NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player honors. Centereach’s Jamie Ortega scored twice for the top-ranked Tar Heels, who finished the season 22-0.

North Carolina goalie Taylor Moreno of Huntington anchored the Tar Heels’ defense, making 11 saves.

Geiersbach scored the game-winning goal in North Carolina’s 15-14 semifinal win over Northwestern on Friday. She finished that game with five goals and two assist. Ortega scored a hat trick and had three assists in the win over Northwestern.

Each of the Final Four teams in women’s tournament relied heavily on the play of ladies from Long Island. Here’s a breakdown of who the Long Island performers are for each team.

North Carolina

The Tar Heels, who knocked out Stony Brook, 8-5, to reach the semifinals, count six Long Islanders, including Ortega, one of the best players in the country. She finished with 69 goals with 44 assists for a team-leading 113 points.

Geiersbach transferred to North Carolina for her final season after a successful five-year career at Richmond. As a grad student, she has tallied 37 goals and 27 assists, playing off the bench for the Tar Heels.

Moreno is playing her fifth season with North Carolina. In 2021, she earned IWLCA National Goalkeeper of the Year ACC Defender of the Year honors. She started every game this season for the undefeated Tar Heels.

Boston College

A whopping 10 Long Islanders play for the defending champs. The group includes four of Boston College’s top five leaders in points and the team’s best two defenders.

Jenn Medjid, a senior who graduated from Garden City High School, had 74 goals and 102 points this season, including two goals in Sunday’s championship game loss. Westhampton Beach High School alumna Belle Smith, a sophomore, finished right behind her with 55 goals and 83 points.

She also has collected 18 ground balls and has tallied 24 caused turnovers. In the 2021 national championship win over Syracuse, Smith scored two goals with two assists

Rockville Centre’s Kayla Martello tallied 45 goals and six assists in her second season with Boston College. The sophomore out of Sacred Heart Academy started each of the Eagles’ 23 games.

Veteran midfielder Cassidy Weeks from Bayport has 30 goals and 10 assists in 23 starts. The senior has now been a part of four Final Four teams with Boston College. Her twin sister Courtney is also a member of the team.

On defense, Boston College is led by Westhampton Beach High School grad Hollie Schleicher and St. Anthony’s High School alumna Hunter Roman, a sophomore. Schleicher, a junior, had 33 ground balls and 21 caused turnovers, while Roman of St. James has 37 ground balls and 24 caused turnovers.

Boston College beat No. 6 Loyal Maryland 20-13 to reach the Final Four.

Northwestern (16-4)

Two Long Islanders help anchor the defense for Northwestern.

Defender Ally Palermo, a Seaford High School alumna playing her fifth season for Northwestern (including the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign), led the Wildcats in ground balls (37) and caused turnovers (24). The grad student picked up two ground balls in Northwestern’s 15-4 shellacking of Syracuse in the quarterfinals.

Sophomore Kendall Halpern of Woodbury caused two turnovers in the win over Syracuse. The 5-foot-8 Syosset High School graduate had 21 ground balls and 13 caused turnovers this season.

Maryland

A pair of Rocky Point High School graduates help No. 2 Maryland hold down the fort on defense. Maddie Sanchez, a senior and a member of the Terrapins’ 2019 national championship team, ranks third on the team with 15 caused turnovers, while her longtime teammate Brianna Lamoureaux, a junior, is tied for fifth with 13.

The two defenders have combined for 54 ground balls; 29 for Sanchez and 25 for Lamoureaux. Both former Eagles have started all 21 games for the Terrapins this season. Maryland crushed No. 7 Florida, 18-5, to reach the Final Four round.

Featured image: North Carolina players celebrate after winning the NCAA college Division 1 women’s lacrosse championship against Boston College in Baltimore, Sunday, May 29, 2022. (Vincent Alban/The Baltimore Sun via AP)