There is a palpable sense of optimism and excitement surrounding the Ithaca High girls lacrosse team.
Entering its final regular season game at Corning at 7 tonight, the Little Red (10-3) is eyeing the top seed in the Section 4 Class A Tournament and the right to host the championship game.
“We are really excited,” said Ithaca senior co-captain Grace Boyce. “We had a really fantastic senior night a couple of nights ago. That was the first time that we really passed the ball and moved the ball like we should in the midfield. That was a key that we always have the potential to do, but it was the first time that we really showed it and we were really looking for that. That’s going to be a huge factor when we go to play Corning.”
The Hawks (10-4) defeated Ithaca, 12-8, earlier in the season at IHS, but the Little Red enter this regular season finale brimming with confidence coming off a dominant win over Union-Endicott last Wednesday.
“I am very satisfied with our progress,” Ithaca junior Molly Long, also a team captain, said. “With the win against Vestal (on May 1), that definitely gave us some confidence. I think we just need to really focus in the practices we have, we just need to bring it for Corning. Corning just beat Vestal, so that proves that we really have to bring it. I believe if we come in with the energy we had during our senior game, we could definitely be close and beat them.”
Senior Lindsay Biondi, who is headed to top-ranked Maryland to play lacrosse, scored six goals in the 18-7 win over Union-Endicott. Boyce added three goals and Long and senior Lauren Herrick each had two goals for the Little Red, which has won five straight.
Senior Julie Erickson continued her strong play for Ithaca as she finished with five saves. Ithaca coach Lyn Reitenbach said Erickson’s increased confidence since the win over Vestal has been a major reason for the team’s success.
“Lindsay is just such an impact player,” Reitenbach said. “Anybody watching our games can see that. But beyond the goals, she’s my best defender, she’s the best on draw controls. She’s just tough as nails everywhere. What I think has the biggest surprise has been my goalie. Since that Vestal game, she’s been unstoppable. She is just playing with so much confidence and she’s gobbling everything up. My seniors just have been gigantic.”
The Hawks are the long-time power in Section 4 and if the Little Red hopes to be successful on Monday, it needs the younger players to step up and contribute.
“Obviously home field advantage is key and they do have that,” Boyce said. “We also have this huge momentum on our side. We really want this. We really have the heart for this. This is our chance to prove something. It will probably be their senior night, so that will hopefully encourage both teams. It’s going to be a really great game.