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Rockaway’s Beach Channel Lady Dolphins lacrosse team wins PSAL championship

Jun. 12, 2023 By John Schilling

After an undefeated season, the Beach Channel Educational Campus’ Lady Dolphins Lacrosse Team are champions. Last weekend, the Lady Dolphins from Division A South faced off against Bayside High School from Division A North in a hard-fought battle that left the Rockaway high school team victorious 10-8 and crowned them the 2022-2023 Public School Athletic League City Team champions.

Led by Coach Katie McGoldrick, the Lady Dolphins had unfinished business entering this season. Last season was the team’s first year back after the COVID-19 shutdown in 2020 and, despite having little to no lacrosse experience as a result, they still managed to compete all the way to the semifinals.

“This year we had a lot of returning players who were determined to get to the end after being so close last year,” said McGoldrick. 

Still, entering this season, only half of the team had ever played lacrosse before, but the Lady Dolphins did not let this limit their success. In their first game of the season on March 27, the Lady Dolphins came out strong, scoring eight goals in the second quarter against KIPP NYC College Prep. The Lady Dolphins went on to win their first game 10-4, with six of their goals coming from junior Angelina LoBianco.

Junior Angelina LoBianco was the highest-scoring player across all of PSAL this season.Photo courtesy of CityLax

It soon became apparent their early success wasn’t a fluke. In the games that followed, the Lady Dolphins enjoyed double-digit scores and leads over their opponents until their closest game of the season against Bayside High School on April 26. 

The Lady Dolphins scored four goals and surrendered only two goals to Bayside in the second quarter. After a scoreless third quarter, things began to heat up in the final quarter when Bayside scored three goals. The Lady Dolphins did the same, finishing the game with a 7-5 victory over Bayside thanks to six goals by LoBianco and one from senior Marilin Luna. 

Despite the close game, the Lady Dolphins continued to win and remained on the top of the division for the rest of the season, something McGoldrick credits to their individual skill sets.

“Regardless of lacrosse skill level, everyone found a strength that they could contribute to the team in some way,” said McGoldrick. “That’s the best thing about a sport like lacrosse, there are so many different ways players can bring something valuable to the table.”

McGoldrick also credits the team’s constant support of each other throughout the season, which she says not only contributed to their on-field success but deepened their bond as teammates. 

“At no point did they talk down to one another, argue or yell at one another, even in frustrating times,” said McGoldrick. “They encouraged one another to step up into areas they weren’t comfortable with and offered advice on how to improve rather than blame players who weren’t as skilled or experienced.”

This proved to be crucial last weekend when the Dolphins faced off against Bayside High School once more, this time for the PSAL championship in what would turn out to be a “nail-biting” game. The Lady Dolphins enjoyed success early on, but the Bayside High School Commodores did not give up, tying the game twice before the Lady Dolphins went on to reclaim their lead in the final quarter and clinch their championship victory 10-8. 

The Lady Dolphins faced off against the Bayside High School Commodores.

Among the individual efforts that contributed to the win was LoBianco with four goals scored, making her the highest scoring player across all of PSAL with 71 goals total, as well as sophomore Anaya Watler, the team’s new goalie who had 118 saves throughout the season, 17 of which came during last weekend’s championship game.

Sophomore Anaya Watler smiles with the PSAL Championship trophy.Photo courtesy of the Watler family

“As their goalie [and] as their friend, I’d do it all again,” said Watler. “Playing for the Lady Dolphins this season will always be a wonderful feeling like no other.”

And while their championship victory will be a great memory down the line, Watler says it’s the simpler things that stand out from their shared love of gummy clusters and junk food diets of chopped cheese, pizza and chips to sitting in circles and talking during practices instead of constantly focusing on gameplay. 

Watler credits this approach, as well as McGoldrick’s leadership, for the team’s success throughout the season.

“My coach is the root of our focus on the game. She guides the team back on track, but also had fun with us,” added Watler. “We bonded with each other and those around us.”

Even with the championship victory, however, the work continues for McGoldrick, who is already looking forward to the Lady Dolphins repeating their success next season. 

“It has been amazing watching them grow in their skill and confidence levels from the first game to the championship,” said McGoldrick. “We are excited for next year to get back out there and do it all again.”

 

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