Dolphins fall short without star keeper

Beach Channel's Zakiyah Archbold fires a shot for a goal past Tottenville players and the goalie. Photo by William Thomas
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Beach Channel’s season of obstacles presented one more road block and an unexpected turn it finally could not overcome.

The Dolphins reached the PSAL Championship division girls’ lacrosse final by battling through the challenges of playing for a new coach and severe damage from Hurricane Sandy to their homes and to their school that left their field unable to be used. Second-seeded Beach Channel then had to play the title game without starting goalkeeper Tianna Parkes in an eventual 12-4 loss to No. 1 Tottenville at Aviator Sports Complex Sunday night. It was a tough way to end things after coming so far.

“First we lost our coach, then we had the hurricane,” senior Melisa Williams said. “I was misplaced from my school and all the players lost their homes. We didn’t come this far to lose.”

Parks and her family got stuck in heavy traffic coming back from her brother’s graduation in upstate Rochester, according to Dolphins Coach Eric Wozniak. The inclement weather left her near Woodbury Commons 45 minutes before the 5:30 p.m. start time in Brooklyn. She made 14 saves in Beach Channel’s 7-5 win over the Pirates during the regular season.

“Sunday traffic coming back from Rochester in this weather, very tough to get here,” Wozniak said.

He huddled in the locker room and decided with the players to put sophomore Kayleigh Hurley, who has soccer goalie experience, in at the net for the first time in her career.

“I’m really proud of her for stepping up because I don’t think I could have done it,” Williams said.

The Dolphins (11-4), looking for their first title since 2010, couldn’t overcome a slow start. Tottenville, led by four goals from Nicole Tantillo, took a 5-0 lead before Williams put Beach Channel on the board with 11:35 left in the first half. It dominated the groundball battle and controlled possession. The Pirates (14-1) increased the lead to 7-1 at the half and never looked back. The Dolphins also received goals from Tatyana Ali, Zakiyah Archbold and Alissa Romero.

Wozniak said the loss doesn’t take away from what his team accomplished under difficult circumstances. The program re-established itself as one of the league’s elite in the coach’s mind.

The departing seniors were proud of their season, but wanted more.

“We have a lot of fight and a lot of heart,” Williams said.

“I’m really proud of the team for coming this far, but our season is over. I’m going to college and I’m never going to be able to play PSAL lacrosse ever again.”

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