When the girls’ lacrosse team last tangled with Poly Prep on April 24, the Bears left Dyker Heights with a 10-9 comeback victory thanks to a Morgan Ruggieri goal with 25 seconds left. Saturday’s non-league rematch followed a different script, but the Bears emerged again with a one-goal victory to cap a gorgeous Senior Day on Fitch Field.
The Bears controlled much of the possession game early on, but it was Poly who grabbed an early 2-0 lead on a free position score and a transition goal. The Bears called a timeout following the second score and the break seemed to regroup them as they came out of the stoppage with three straight goals in a span of just two minutes. A pair of free position goals from Ava McCormick knotted the game at the 16:37 mark and Ruggieri gave the Bears their first lead on a transition score following a Tiffany Akinyoade clear. The Devils responded with a two-goal run to retake a 4-3 lead with 9:15 left in the first half, but a McCormick free position goal and back-to-back scores from Ruggieri gave the Brook a 6-4 lead they would not relinquish. Poly answered with a score at the 3:03 mark, but Ruggieri pushed the Bear lead back to 7-5 just 19 seconds later. The Bears looked poised to head into the half with the same cushion, but Poly scored in transition with 2.9 seconds left as the Brook took a 7-6 advantage into the break.
The Devils seemed to grab some momentum with their late score, but it was the Bears who came roaring out of the half, scoring four straight goals to take a commanding 11-6 lead. The teams were deadlocked for the first five minutes of the period, but McCormick broke the stalemate with a free position goal. 15 seconds later, Ruggieri scored off of a McCormick draw control to push the lead to 9-6. At the 14:53 mark, Ruggieri notched another score from a free position and 52 seconds later McCormick bounced a shot into the top left corner as the Bears took firm control with an 11-6 edge. Incredibly, with their offense seemingly at its zenith, the Bears would notch just one more score over the final 14:01 of game time. It would prove to be just enough.
Poly ended their nearly 13-minute scoring drought with a goal at the 12:28 mark. Ruggieri scored her seventh goal three minutes later to put the Brook back up, 12-7. From there, Poly refused to go down without a fight, scoring at the 9:19, 4:59, 3:40, 2:48, and 2:02 marks to pull within 11-12 and bring a nauseating tension to what had been a comfortable second half for the Bears. However, the Brook defense did not wilt under the pressure. The defensive corps of Akinyoade, Georgia Apazidis, Christy Eugene, Caroline Cho, and Emily Berger held firm, stopping the Devils on two possessions in the final two minutes to seal the victory. With 13 seconds left, Poly held the ball behind our cage, but Berger intercepted a pass over the top and held on as the final 10 seconds bled away.
Ruggieri, Long Island’s current points (52) and goals (43) leader, finished with 7 goals and 6 draw controls while McCormick added 5 goals and 9 draw controls. Berger finished with 7 saves in net.
The Bears are back in action tomorrow afternoon with a home PSAA semifinal match-up vs. #3 Staten Island Academy.