CORTLAND, N.Y. — Yorktown’s girls lacrosse squad fell 19-8 to Section 8 champion and Long Island power Garden City in the Class B New York State Public High School Athletic Association semifinals at SUNY Cortland on June 9, ending the legendary coaching career of Husker coach Ellen Mager.
“It was amazing to reach the final four this year,” Mager said. “This team came together at the right time and overcame a great deal to win the section. I am so proud of these kids and so grateful for the ride they took us on this spring. These players and coaches should be so proud of what they accomplished this year.”
Mager, a 2014 Hudson Valley Lacrosse Hall of Fame inductee, is retiring after coaching Yorktown to eight of its 11 sectional championships and three of its four state titles as a head coach.
“I am grateful and honored to have been a part of this program for 22 years,” Mager said. “It is a family. I have made lifelong friends through this lacrosse experience, with both players and coaches.”
Mager said she decided to retire because of the huge time commitment and the stress given what a competitive person she is, along with her daughter, Carli, who earned the sportsmanship award, going to play at Ohio State University next year.
“I am pretty old and the stress was starting to take a toll on me, in addition to me wanting to be able to have the flexibility to watch Carli play in college. The time just felt right,” Ellen Mager said. “I feel great about the experience (assistant coach) Lauren McAulay has gotten these past three years and I feel very good about the place our program is in right now.”
As for the game, Garden City led 5-0 before senior captain Rilea Fusco scored the Huskers’ first goal, off an assist from all-tournament selectee Ellen O’Callaghan (1G, 2A), 10:44 into the contest.
Fusco’s goal started a 6-4 Husker run before a late first-half score by Garden City put it up 10-6 at halftime.
“We got hyped because we knew we could get by them and when we did we got hyped and wanted to do it again,” Fusco said.
Fusco (3G, 3A) led the Yorktown offense with six points.
“Rilea played great as always, but today she really played with so much heart, being that it could be her last time playing for Yorktown,” Husker senior captain Michelle Seger said.
Ciara Frawley (1G) and Emily Hirsch’s play also stood out according to Seger (2G).
“Emily Hirsch and Ciara Frawley are always standout players to me because on the draw they are very aggressive and fight for each ball,” Seger said. “They were very successful today.”
Kelsey McDonnell (1G) and Lexi DelBene (2 saves) also produced against Garden City, who secured the victory by scoring the first nine goals of the second half.
“This team means the world to me, we are so close and all best friends,” Seger said. “I wouldn’t want to have finished my Yorktown career with anyone else. Mage had a huge influence on my life and she really shaped the Yorktown girls lacrosse community. I feel honored to play for her and especially play on her last team at Yorktown. I grew up with her coaching me and she has taught me so much about the game.”
Seger said more than anything she is going to miss playing with the girls she grew up with.
“It’s hard to think that I will not be able to wear a Yorktown jersey anymore and represent the town I grew up in and love so much,” Seger said. “My time here was going to come to an end at some point, but I’m just so glad that we got back to Cortland.”
Fusco said that playing for Yorktown has been the highlight of her life and is beyond grateful for the unforgettable memories and overall experience she has made with the Huskers (12-9).
“This year has definitely been something special,” Fusco said. “Our team has come together like no other and I wish it never had to end. We faced a lot of adversity but it only made us closer as we went on. It’s crazy to think that this season was also Mage’s last season and I wish more than anything that we could’ve finished with a ring.”