Thundercolts Keep Playoff Hopes Alive With Senior Day Win

HALF HOLLOW HILLS, New York, May 14

BY: Andrew Wroblewski

Fighting for their playoff lives, the Thundercolts of the Half Hollow Hills girls lacrosse team came away with a crucial win on Thursday – a win that put them in a position for a final showdown for a spot in the 2015 Suffolk Division I playoffs.

On their Senior Day, the Thundercolts were dominant from the first faceoff as they came away with a 16-4 victory over Whitman.
On their Senior Day, the Thundercolts were dominant from the first faceoff as they came away with a 16-4 victory over Whitman.

For the Thundercolts – named so for having players from both high schools East and West – the scoring came early and often as Half Hollow Hills outscored the visiting Wildcats of Walt Whitman 6-1 in the first half of play.

The 2015 Senior Game, the Thundercolts’ final regular season home game, further leaned in the favor of Half Hollow Hills as the team’s offense exploded for a 10-3 advantage in the second stanza. When all was said and done, the Thundercolts emerged with a 16-4 win and were led by Julia Pascarella, a sophomore who contributed 5 points on 3 goals and 2 assists.

“She’s still young so every game has been a learning experience… but she’s been doing a great job,” Lori Horbach, head coach, said.

In net, Paulina Difatta kept the Wildcats at bay and kept the lead in tact with her 10 saves.

“Paulina has been playing unbelievable,” Horbach said.

The Thundercolts offense was also powered by contributions from Jenn Casadonte, Dani Lulley and Cassie Caiazza, a trio of seniors that combined for 10 points of total offense.

“I’ve been coaching these girls for so many years… There has been a legacy of Casadontes, Lulleys and Caiazzas so this is like the ending of an era… but they’ve been great. They’re fantastic leaders and they’re excited for [Tuesday].”

As Horbach alluded, Half Hollow Hills (6-7) sat in an interesting spot in Division I as of press time on Monday.

With 100.97 total power points – which they’ve accrued during regular season play – the Thundercolts occupied the 11th place in the division. The top 11 teams from Division I qualify for the postseason, which is tentatively scheduled to kick off on Saturday.

However, Connetquot (7-6) would look to put a damper on the Thundercolts’ playoff aspirations as they welcomed Half Hollow Hills for a game after press time on Tuesday. Connetquot, although sporting a better winning percentage than the Thundercolts, only produced 98.67 total power points and therefore sat in the Division I’s 12th spot.

A win for the Thundercolts in that could have proved to be enough for the girls to hold on to that final postseason position, but a loss would almost assuredly eliminate them from contention. Also worth noting, Bay Shore (5-8), a team two spots behind the Thundercolts, was to face off against Northport (10-3) on Tuesday and, if Bay Shore came away with a win, it could jump over both Half Hollow Hills and Connetquot for the final playoff spot.

Regardless, the Thundercolts looked forward to their Tuesday night game.

“They girls are psyched… This is pretty much our play-in game for the playoffs,” Horbach said. “We’re excited for the challenge and we’ll see what happens.”

In order to keep up with the final standings and eventual playoff bracket, visit http://www.sectionxi.org.

Originally published: Long Islander News: Half Hollow Hills
(Thursday, May 14, 2015;  A27)

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