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Monday, June 5, 2017: Ortega's record-setting day carries Middle Country

   Leading off today: Jamie Ortega's historic day helped Middle Country defeat Massapequa 10-9 in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association girls Class A lacrosse quarterfinals Sunday at Adelphi University.

   Ortega's third point on a day on which she finished with three goals and four assists made her the leading scorer in NYSPHSAA history in the sport. The University of North Carolina recruit finished the day at 574 points to pass Northport's Shannon Gilroy, who graduated from Northport in 2012 with 570 points. Ortega's sister Nikki Ortega stands fourth on the list, having graduated two years ago with 556 points.

   Jamie Ortega assisted on a goal to put Middle Country ahead 10-6 with 3:50 to play, before Massapequa freshman Alexa Gentile scored straight three goals. Ortega won the final draw with :43.1 left to help advance Middle Country to its first state semifinals appearance.

   "Today, my biggest goal was just winning this game and being there for my teammates," Ortega said. "I really couldn't accomplish breaking that record without them."

   More L.I. girls lacrosse: Garden City recovered from an early three-goal deficit and beat Eastport-South Manor 12-6 in the Class B quarterfinals.

   The Trojans scored 10 of the contest's final 11 goals, with Kelly George assisting on the final three Garden City goals. Kaitlyn Larsson made five second-half saves in the victory.

   "We haven't been down in a really important game like this, but it makes us stronger for the games that are going to come up that are going to be just as tough or tougher," the Trojans' Jackie Brattan told Newsday.

    • Mount Sinai held Wantagh to a season-low four goals and secured a 10-4 victory in Class C as Hannah Van Middelem made five saves.

   Mount Sinai has two shutouts to its credit this season and is holding opponents to just 3.7 goals per game.

   "Our defense has been a stronghold this season, so if the offense is lacking a little, we know we can always back them up," senior Emily Vengilio said. "But our offense played a great game today like they had been the past couple games."

   Meaghan Tyrrell paced the offense with four goals and two assists.

    • Mattituck/Southold earned its first Long Island championship by downing Carle Place 15-5 in Class D. Freshman Mackenzie Hoeg scored 59 seconds into the game and finished with three goals and four assists.

   Girls golf: After two straight runner-up finishes, Carmel junior Lauren Peter is the NYSPHSAA champion.

   Peter shot an even-par 72 in the second round at Bethpage Yellow to finish two strokes ahead of three-time defending champ Lindsay May of Auburn. Melanie Green of Medina and Tulane recruit Jenny Rosenberg of Cold Spring Harbor tied for third at five strokes behind the winner.

   Peter, who has already committed to Ohio State, had fired an opening 68 on Saturday. She bogeyed her opening hole Sunday and then bogeyed the par-5 10th to fall into a tie with May but regained the lead for good with birdies at Nos. 13 and 15.

   "The front nine was OK, but the back nine got a little intense," she told The Journal News. "On 18, I didn't know I had officially won. I knew it had gotten tense, but I didn't know who was winning."

   May, also a junior, began the day three shots off the lead.

   "I'm a little disappointed, but I'm OK," she told The Citizen after firing consecutive 71s. "Overall, I did well with every part of my game. The other girl played a good round."

   Boys golf: Manhasset sophomore Adam Xiao birdied two of his final six holes in a 1-over 72 in the first round of the NYSPHSAA boys tournament at Cornell University's Robert Trent Jones Golf Course.

   Onteora senior Justin Lane was alone in second with a 73, one shot better than Somers sophomore Nathan Han, who was the first-round leader a year ago before finishing tied for second.

   "I can tell myself I've been there before," Han said. "There's no reason to be nervous or feel pressure. I'll know


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  • I've been in the situation in the past, so I should know how to handle it tomorrow."

       Travel advisory: Much was made last week of the 50th anniversary of the release of the Beatles' brilliant "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart Band," which gave us a memorable title track as well as "With a Little Help from My Friends" and "A Day in the Life" to name but a few tunes.

       If the boys lacrosse teams from Garden City and Ward Melville use a Beatles album as the soundtrack to the final week of the season, it might as well be "Let It Be." That's the one containing "The Long and Winding Road."

       The New York State Sportswriters Association's Steve Grandin and Neil Kerr were looking at travel distances for the NYSPHSAA semifinals, and those two Long Island schools could be in for a punishing week on the road.

       Ward Melville is staring at a 410-mile round trip for Wednesday's Class A semifinals at SUNY Albany, and Garden City's journey is only slightly better at 340 miles. The real killer, though, would be the state finals on Saturday -- particularly Ward Melville.

       If the Patriots defeat Lakeland/Panas on Wednesday, they're staring at a 10 a.m. championship game at St. John Fisher on Saturday, a trip of about 390 miles in each direction that will require them to hit the road Friday.

       Even in rush-hour traffic, Pittsford (Class A) and Victor (B) are staring at mere half-hour commutes to Fisher for Wednesday's semifinals and -- if they advance -- Saturday's title games.

       It's a bad situation, for sure, especially as we're heading down the final stretch before exams. But in an oddly shaped state like New York with a couple of serious mountain ranges impeding straight-line travel from Point A to Point B in some instances, that's what high school teams are sometimes up against.

       I know we'll hear another chorus from the crowd wanting all state championships to be centrally located at venues in the Syracuse/Albany/Binghamton triangle, but I don't envision ever supporting that. Should appropriate bids to host be made by suitable venues, athletes from all corners of the state and points in between should be able to entertain the idea of at least the occasional opportunity to play big games close to home.

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