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It was a year in which some of the up and coming programs challenged the established ones, with Beach Channel solidifying the fact that there was a new kid in town. The Dolphins road a dynamic offense, led by Cynithia Smalls, Tolagbe Olatunbosun and Kiara VanBrackle to their first PSAL City title. Beach Channel came back to beat powerhouse Tottenville in the final. It beat both the Pirates and defending champion Curtis during the regular season.
Those schools are not going to go away, but have found new challengers in Beach Channel and Frederick Douglass Academy. Coach Sara Cosby led the Manhattan school to an 8-5 record and a second-place finish in the North Division. Tottenville will be back next season with top defender Mallory Cardillo and scorer Dana Coscia returning.
All-PSAL Girls’ Lacrosse
Player Of The Year
Cynithia Smalls, Beach Channel: The senior is a game-changing talent. She proved just that in the PSAL city championship game when she stole an errant clearing pass and turned it into a game-tying goal. She had been quiet until that moment. The score helped spark Beach Channel to its first title. Smalls scored 41 goals and dished out 13 assists last season. She is almost always the most athletic girl on the field. She was nearly unguardable in transition, weaving her way through multiple defenders for a score. Teams would throw double and triple teams at her in hopes of slowing her down. Sometimes they succeeded and other times Smalls would put up five goals. She was the heart and soul of a team that will always be remembered at Beach Channel.
All-PSAL Girls’ Lacrosse
Coach Of The Year
Sam Innes, Beach Channel: Innes laid the groundwork for the Beach Channel girls’ lacrosse program four years ago at Channel View, which has grades 6 through 12, and is in the same building as the high school. Since then the squad has blossomed and improved each season, drawing more and more girls and talent. This season was a culmination of all the work. Innes’ cool hand and calm demeanor never let his emotional squad get to high or too low during early-season victories over established powers Curtis and Tottenville and a deflating loss to the Pirates near season’s end. The Dolphins winning their first-ever PSAL title was a testament to Innes’ dedication and leadership.
All-PSAL First Team
Mallory Cardillo, Tottenville: Cardillo played some time at midfielder, but her most important job came on defense. The sophomore was the Pirates’ shutdown defender, usually drawing and controlling an opponent’s top scorer. She was one of the few people to slow down Cynithia Smalls this season.
Dana Coscia, Tottenville: Coscia is as dynamic a scorer as you can find. Even when it looks like you have her under control the junior can break out with a string of goals. She had three five-goal games this season. She led the Pirates in scoring with 33 goals and five assists, including five playoff scores.
Jaclyn Fitzgibbons, Tottenville: The senior midfielder was a versatile offensive weapon especially in the playoffs. In the PSAL post eason she scored five goals and dished out four assists, scoring twice in the semifinal and final. Fitzgibbons (21 goals and nine assists) was the main orchestrator of Tottenville’s transition.
Gina Haber, Tottenville: The senior started out slow in her first full season in the cage, but grew in confidence as the year went on. She became one of the best goalies in the PSAL with a 79 percent save percentage. Haber was able to make the routine saves and was always good for fighting off a flurry or two.
Natalie Larin, Cardozo: Larin started playing lacrosse as a freshman at the Queens school. This season she found herself as the senior leader and main scoring threat on a young Judges squad. She responded by leading the PSAL in goals with 59, the most scored in the league since 2006. She also added five assists.
Aicha Mbaye, Frederick Douglass Academy: The extremely athletic senior was the offensive leader during a breakout season for Frederick Douglass. She scored an amazing 42 goals, second in the league, on 86 shots. Mbaye was great at exploding to the cage, helping her team to an 8-5 record and a second place finish in the North Division.
Tolagbe Olatunbosun, Beach Channel: The junior midfielder was one of the Dolphins’ major offensive threats, a leader and part of the supporting cast for star Cynithia Smalls. Olatunbosun, who is a combination of speed and strength, scored 28 goals and dished out three assists. She helped make other teams pay for minding too much attention to Smalls.
Angelica Rodriguez, Midwood: The three-year starter was the anchor of the Hornets’ defense. The senior has turned herself into one of the top goalies in the league and one of the keys to Midwood’s success this season, especially against top squads. Her 69 percent save percentage was second best in the PSAL this season.
Carla Sigona, Curtis: The four-year varsity player was part of one of the best scoring duos in the PSAL with teammate Samantha Santucci. Sigona, who has deceptive speed, good stick skills and a nose for the cage, scored 26 goals and added eight assists. Three of those goals came in the playoffs to help Curtis to the semifinals.
Kiara VanBrackle, Beach Channel: The senior won the PSAL’s Wingate award after helping to lead Beach Channel to its first-ever city championship, scoring the winner against Tottenville. VanBrackle, who had 25 goals and five assists, was a versatile midfielder for the Dolphins, often starting their fast break and being a relentless defender.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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