It was four years ago in Brooklandville, Md., when eight tremendous girls’ lacrosse teams and a number of future Division I players were on the same pitch for the Maryland-New York Lacrosse Challenge.
Saturday on Long Island, there will be nine matches in the second annual Gains for Brains tournament that will take place at Cold Spring Harbor (N.Y.). Each of the scheduled games features an intriguing matchup with its own set of storylines:
Darien (Conn.) vs. West Islip (N.Y.), 10 a.m.
Darien is a perennial national powerhouse, and holds the CIAC Class L championship. The Blue Wave, however, are looking to bounce back from a loss this week to Garden City (N.Y.). West Islip, the defending NYSPHSAA Class A state champion, is the No. 4 team in the TopOfTheCircle.com Top 10.
Saddle River (N.J.) Day School vs. Mattituck-Southport-Greenport (N.Y.), 11 a.m.
Saddle River Day School features Daniella McMahon, who broke in freshman year with what was then one of the top five single-season goal-scoring performances of all time. She will be following her sister Gabby to the University of Southern California next year. The co-op team from Mattituck is also family-oriented, as the program features five members of the Hoeg family. Senior Katie Hoeg is committed to North Carolina.
Ridgewood (N.J.) vs. Wantagh (N.Y.) Senior, 12 p.m.
Ridgewood only started girls’ lacrosse about 20 years ago, and, as it turns out, the young women in this traditionally strong community benefitted from the game, sending players to the collegiate and national levels. The Maroons won the Tournament of Champions in 2010 and 2011. Wantagh beat Mount Sinai (N.Y.), the No. 2 team in the TopOfTheCircle.com Top 10, yesterday.
Middle Country (N.Y.) vs. New Canaan (Conn.), 1 p.m.
Lacrosse fans may know the name Middle Country, but you may also recognize the two high school forming this co-op team: Centereach (N.Y.) and Selden Newfield (N.Y.). The Wolverines will take on New Canaan, the defending state Class M champions
Moorestown (N.J.) vs. Garden City (N.Y.), 2 p.m.
Challenge games are nothing new for Moorestown and head coach Deanna Knobloch. Indeed, you could argue that the Interstate Era for girls’ lacrosse in the United States started with the 2003 season as the Quakers met Suffern and Alexandria St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes (Va.). It was against the Saints that Moorestown met the end of an 82-game win streak. Garden City already has wins against Suffern (N.Y.) and Darien (Conn.) this season.
Yorktown (N.Y.) vs. Bayport-Blue Point (N.Y.), 3 p.m.
Yorktown’s lone loss this season was to Darien, and the Hudson Valley powers are going to make a strong run in the state tournament. B-BP has Mount Sinai next week in a rematch of last year’s postseason loss.
Summit (N.J.) vs. Eastport-South Manor (N.Y.), 4 p.m.
Earlier this week, Summit avenged its Tournament of Champions loss to Oak Knoll and has now staked a good claim to being the top team in the Garden State. Eastport-South Manor has had a tough go in recent days with losses to the Mattituck-Southport-Greenpoint co-op team and to Bayport-Blue Point (N.Y.).
Summit Oak Knoll (N.J.) vs. South Huntington St. Anthony’s (N.Y.), 5 p.m.
Oak Knoll, the winner of last year’s NJSIAA Tournament of Champions, had a loss this week against town rival Summit. Unlike Oak Knoll, which can win a state tournament and a Tournament of Champions, St. Anthony’s can only win the league title with the New York Catholic High Schools Athletic Association, so it is games like this that test the Friars’ mettle.
Suffern (N.Y.) vs. Cold Spring Harbor (N.Y.), 6 p.m.
The hosts get a tough side in Suffern, a team which has been the Class A Section 1 champions the last three seasons. Cold Spring Harbor, for its part, has the heart of its schedule remaining with games against St. Anthony’s and Manhasset.
If you are within earshot of the North Shore of Long Island, go see these games. Admission is free, but donations are being taken to ng Headway Foundation, which is dedicated to the care and comfort of children with brain and spinal cord tumors.