Lakeland makes history with 3rd straight Passaic County title by Sean Farrell of The Record
WAYNE — The three-peat is complete.
Sarah Deighan proudly held up the Lakeland flag and stuck it onto the field after her team left a mark of its own on North Jersey lacrosse. The Lancers became the first school to win three straight Passaic County girls lacrosse titles with an 11-6 win over Wayne Valley in Saturday’s final. The team from Wanaque looked all the part of a No. 1 seed, scoring eight of the game’s last 10 goals to send the championship back home.
“It speaks a lot for the program,” captain Sammy Jost said. “It speaks a lot for Lakeland itself and [Coach Erin] Murphy because she was the head coach all that time. Without her, we would be nowhere. And every single person on that field today played a huge role. Without every single person, we would not have done it today.”
Blessed with talent, Lakeland had to show heart in a rematch of last year’s final. The Lancers fell into a big hole as many fans were getting settled at Wayne Hills High School. Murphy called timeout after Stevie Hensen’s free position shot gave the Indians a quick 3-0 lead.
“In sports, it’s whoever works harder,” said Deighan, a valedictorian headed to Northeastern. “It’s whoever wants it more. It’s not always the team that has more talent.”
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From then on, Lakeland took back control of the game. The turnaround started with Jost.
The Lancers’ senior finished with a hat trick, forced two turnovers and was excellent on the draw. A three-sport athlete at Lakeland, Jost is committed to play soccer at Roger Williams. She still sports a brace around her left leg, after tearing her ACL and meniscus in basketball as a sophomore and missing year of lacrosse. After Jost began the scoring for Lakeland with a free position, the goals started to come in bunches.
“We said that there was a whole game ahead of us,” Jost said. “It means absolutely nothing. Three goals in lacrosse is absolutely nothing. It didn’t go through my mind that it was over. I just thought that he have to keep pushing.”
Lakeland pulled away with four goals in four minutes after intermission.
Kendall Lomascola registered a team-high four goals, Devyn Tanajewski chipped in two and Deighan played well in goal.
“We always say that we’re a second half team,” Murphy said. “[Wayne Valley] definitely got ahead of us in the beginning. The girls wanted it so much so they knew they had to work extra on every ground ball. In the second half, we came up big.”
Added Jost, “This is a feeling that I will remember for the rest of my life.”