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Channel looks to refocus after loss to Tottenville

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Cynithia Smalls was watched closely and then smothered whenever she touched the ball. The Beach Channel star attack had burned Tottenville for six goals in a Dolphins’ win in their second game of the season. The Pirates were determined not to let that happen again, putting their best defender, Mallory Cardillo, on her.

“I think their defense was a lot better,” Smalls said. “There was always a girl trailing me or behind me.”

The junior finally fought through the double and triple teams in the second half for three goals, but it was too late by then. Tottenville scored seven straight times in the first half and went on to beat host Beach Channel 15−7 in PSAL South Division girls’ lacrosse Tuesday.

“It’s tough because this is when we are supposed to be our strongest as a team,” Smalls said. “We are supposed to be the strongest at this part of the season.”

Beach Channel (9−2) trailed 3−0 early, but cut it to 3−2 with 10:50 left in the first half on goals from Kiara Van Brackle and Tolagbe Olatunbosun. Just 1:34 later, though, Brianne Barry made it 4−2 Pirates, the city runners−up a year ago. The Dolphins had a chance to again creep closer, but Tottenville goalie Gina Haber stopped shots by Van Brackle, Claudia Gaillard and Olatunbosun. The Pirates (9−1) rolled from there, scoring six more times before the half to take a 10−2 lead.

“That really hurt us,” Beach Channel Coach Sam Innes said. “Big saves and a long clear can really switch momentum.”

The Dolphins came into the game, the start of an important three−game stretch to end the season, on a six−game winning streak, mainly against lesser opponents.

“Sometimes a loss can refocus a team,” Innes said. “Going into the playoffs, it might be the right time to be refocused.”

His squad, which hurts its chance at a division title with the loss, has two games remaining. The first contest is against North Division leader Frederick Douglass on May 12 and two days later it plays Midwood, which leads the South Division, to end the season. The Dolphins hope this loss will help prepare them for what’s to come.

“It lets us know that we have to work harder,” Smalls said. “Because at this point in the season, we are going to be facing better teams.”

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