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Mary Louis girls end best lax season

Mary Louis’ first trip to a girls’ lacrosse final showed just how far the program has come and gave it a new goal to strive for.

The Hilltoppers didn’t play their crispest game of the season in an 18-8 defeat to unbeaten St. Dominic in the CHSAA Class A girls’ lacrosse championship game May 24 at C.W. Post, but Allison Moloney scored four times and Anna McGovern found the back of the net twice. Regina Paskoff and Sara Ecklas each added scores.

“It’s a big step up for the program,” first-year Mary Louis Coach Keri La Magna said of reaching the final. “They definitely have improved. Girls who weren’t starting at the beginning of the season because they didn’t have the skills improved their skills and they played in the final.”

TMLA had the best season in the program’s seven-year history after becoming the first CHSAA girls’ lacrosse team in Queens in 2005 and joining the Nassau/Suffolk league in 2006. A year ago, the Hilltoppers were 1-9 and this season finished 7-6-2 overall and 4-3-1 in league play, which including a win over rival St. Francis Prep. They won their semifinal game 6-5 over St. Mary’s after it was called with 12:00 remaining because of lightning. The two teams split two one-goal contests during the regular season.

“We went into the game knowing that we had to keep ahead because after halftime at any moment the game was going to end,” La Magna said.

McGovern, who was named the league’s most valuable player, was TMLA’s offensive star out of the midfield all season. She got goal-scoring help from Moloney, Kristina DiRe and Lindsey Spangel. Ellen Peiser, Ariana Galluscio and Paskoff excelled at midfield and Nicole Bongiovi and Ecklas led a solid defense.

“Some of the girls who play have never picked up a stick before,” said La Magna, who previously coached at Cold Spring Harbor. “This is their first year. They acquired the skills really fast and picked it up. A lot of them haven’t seen lacrosse aside from what they got at school.”

She is hoping the run to the title game will help change the perception of the program both in the school and in the league. Mary Louis is known for its basketball, soccer and softball teams and she hopes to attract more of the school’s athletes to the sport, along with incoming freshmen. The players themselves took the year more seriously than in the past and it turned into new-found success.

“It will change the face of the program,” La Magna said. “There is more to come.”

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