Three former Harborfields lacrosse players won championship rings when the Adelphi Lady Panthers won the Division II Women’s Lacrosse Championship on Sunday, May 19. Chelsea Abreu, senior captain for the Panthers, Kailey Broderick and Gianna Bifulco all wore the Tornadoes’ green jerseys as members of the Harborfields girls lacrosse team in recent years.
The Panthers were underdogs from the start. During the regular season, Adelphi suffered one-point losses to both LeMoyne and LIU Post. In the first round of the Northeast 10 Conference tournament the Panthers were upset by the no. 7 seed.
Things didn’t bode well to make the NCAA tournament.
The entire team was huddled around a TV in a campus conference room on Monday, May 6, fingers crossed they would get a ticket to the NCAA tournament. LeMoyne was selected first, followed by LIU/Post and then Mercy. The room erupted in celebration as Garden City-based Adelphi University was chosen for the final spot.
It was this moment that the team’s captain and draw specialist Abreu (HF ’15) knew she had to lay it all on the line to bring home the championship.
Sophomore defender Broderick (HF ’17) had a dream of winning the “Natty” since the day she put on a Harborfields lacrosse travel jersey as a little girl. Abreu, Broderick and freshman midfielder Bifulco (HF ’18) travelled with the team to Syracuse to avenge the season losses.
A solid 16-3 victory over LIU/Post set up the second-round game match-up with LeMoyne. On a cold, windy and rain-soaked Sunday, the Lady Panthers’ goal in the second overtime clinched the win and a trip to the Final Four game in Grand Rapids, Mich.
Fourth-seeded Adelphi was on a roll. They handed top seeded Regis University its first loss of the season with a solid 17-10 quarterfinals win, and steamrolled West Chester University of Pennsylvania 11-5 for the championship.
Abreu graduates Adelphi on the highest of notes, winning on the field and in the classroom as Adelphi’s Female Scholar Athlete of the Year. Her legendary career ended by playing in the IWCLA Senior All-Star game and winning the NE10 Conference’s Woman of the Year award on June 3.The honor is bestowed on a student-athlete for excellence in competition, in the classroom (3.98 GPA) and in the community. Broderick stepped on the field as a starting freshman last year and hasn’t looked back. Her stellar defense throughout the NCAA tournament earned her the only Panther defender a spot on the NCAA All-Tournament team. Three caused turnovers and career-high six ground balls during the national championship game told her captain she had her back. Bifulco was solid all year and earned a spot on the All-Rookie team. Her wicked shot on goal will serve her well over the next three years.