By Chris Goldberg
TopLaxRecruits.com, Posted 6/9/17
Middle Country (N.Y.) senior midfielder Jamie Ortega reached a major milestone Tuesday, but she was more concerned about her team making history.
Ortega, signed with North Carolina, led the Wolverines (17-3) to a 10-9 victory over Massapequa at Adelphi University for the program’s first Long Island Class A championship and a berth in today’s state semifinals at Cortland State.
Ortega had three goals and four assists – and after scoring Middle Country’s first two goals and assisting on its third, she broke the state’s all-time girls’ lacrosse scoring record as documented by the New York State Public High School Athletic Association. Ortega finished the game with 575 points (389 goals, 186 assists); the record of 570 points was held by Shannon Gilroy, a 2012 West Babylon graduate.
Ortega, though, was most thrilled that her team was moving to the Final Four; Middle Country will play Section 1 champion North Rockland at SUNY Cortland at 4:30 p.m. on the Red Field. Pittsford and defending champion Christian Brothers meet in the other semifinal.
Against Massapequa, Middle Country led somewhat comfortable until the Chiefs staged a late rally. Massapequa (11-7), which trailed by as much as 9-4, scored the game’s final three goals to make it 19-9, but Ortega won the final draw with 43 seconds left.
“I think that pushing each other to be the best and working hard in practice made us really work hard and it showed in games,” said Ortega. “Winning the Long Island championship was such an indescribable moment that I really can’t put into words.
“It feels amazing being part of this team and accomplishing something that our past teams couldn’t.”
Ortega said she was honored to set the state scoring record, but made sure her teammates shared in the accomplishment.
“Beating the state record was something that wasn’t always my biggest goal, but breaking it was such a huge accomplishment,” said Ortega, who last year was the Heather Leigh Albert award winner as the top player at the US Lacrosse Women’s National Tournament at Lehigh. “I really couldn’t have broke it without my teammates.”
What does Middle Country need to do to win a state title?
“For the next games we just have to keep pushing each other and playing hard and just believing in one another.” said Ortega.