The Bears may have caught Long Island Lutheran flat-footed last week when they dismantled the three-time defending PSAA Champions, 16-3, but yesterday LuHi was ready for a fight on their home turf in what proved to be a taut rematch. However, it was the Bears that made all the big plays in the closing minutes to earn the win and a 4-0 record.
The Bears held a narrow 4-3 edge at the half, but much of the second half was played on a razor’s edge with ties at 5-5 and 6-6. The late-game heroics began when Ava McCormick scooped up an errant throw on a LuHi clear and dodged past three defenders to knot the score at 6-6. The sophomore then won the ensuing draw before nearly giving the Bears the lead, only to be stopped by the LuHi goalie. After the save, the LuHi goalie left the crease and McCormick snuck in from behind to check the ball loose, pick up the ground ball and score what proved to be the game-winner for a 7-6 lead with under six minutes left. From there, the Bear defense held firm, including one lengthy defensive stand, and Emily Berger made several key stops to preserve the narrow edge. Morgan Ruggieri finally put the game away with 27 seconds left when she spun off of two LuHi defenders just inside the restraining line before firing a righty shot into the top shelf with a pair of pursuers on her hip for the final 8-6 margin.
Ruggieri led the way for the Bears with 5 goals to go along with 7 ground balls. McCormick added 3 goals and 8 draw controls. Each half of this dynamic duo has scored a least a hat trick in all four games this season. Berger made 13 stops in net.
The Bears are back in action on Friday in a home PSAA match-up with Staten Island Academy.