VALHALLA, N.Y. -- Kristina Caridi wanted to try something new in seventh grade so she joined the new Valhalla girls' lacrosse club, led by field hockey coach Tara Lahm.
Caridi excelled in basketball and soccer and was curious about lacrosse. Now a junior, Caridi and her teammates excel in lacrosse as the program is in its maiden varsity season.
Valhalla scored the last three goals of the game, including the decisive one by Caridi, to overcome visiting Ardsley, 10-9 in a girls' lacrosse game Saturday.
The Vikings, now 2-2 on the season, received hat tricks from Sabrina Douglass and Caridi. Caridi broke a 9-9 tie with 2:18 remaining. She had the ball behind the net, shrugged off a check, came around the net, jumped up and deposited a shot in the net.
Caridi and her teammates enjoyed the win in what has been a steady progression, each spring.
“We began as a club team, then went one year of modified and two years of JV,” Caridi said. “In our first year as a JV team, we did not have any wins. Last year, we only had one loss.
“This has been amazing. We won our first game of the year, against Keio. This is all because of coach, who pulled it all together for us. It is amazing to know that we made it happen becoming the first girls' lacrosse team.”
Lauren LeConte is the only senior on the team. Nine juniors, two sophomores and a freshman complete the team.
“Coming into this season, we knew it was going to be a big difference going from JV to varsity, but coach knew how to get us ready,” said Caridi, who had two of her three goals in the second half.
Ardsley led, 6-5, at halftime, thanks to two goals by Leah Pozin. The Panthers would have three, two-goal leads in the second half, the last at 9-7 on a Melissa DaRocha goal on a perfect feed from Hannah Siegel with 6:53 remaining.
Valhalla (2-2) began the rally on a Jen Holtzer goal 17 seconds after DeRocha scored. Douglass charged the net and scored the equalizer with 5:01 remaining, This set up Caridi’s winner.
“Once Jen scored, our intensity picked up and we knew we were going to come back,” Caridi said. “Whenever I get the ball and go behind the cage, coach tells me if I feel the pressure and they come behind the cage to me, then I go right to the net. And coach hates it when I do my jump shot.”
DaRocha had a hat trick for Ardsley and Sarah Sulla and Pozin netted two goals apiece.