With the rest of her teammates, Alison Incarnato ran to the defensive side of the field and embraced goaltender Caitlin Fitzpatrick. She was speechless then and is speechless now after Adelphi beat West Chester (Pa.) to win a Division II national title in women's lacrosse last week.
"It's every kids dream to go to college and win a National Championship," said Incarnato, who graduated from Sachem North and is a native of Centereach. "It's about reaching one of my goals. It's a feeling you can't really put into words. I thought 'oh my God, we did it'."
After an athletic-filled high school career at Sachem that saw her play three sports all four years – she excelled in volleyball, basketball and lacrosse – Incarnato set off on a journey to Division I lax at Temple University in Philadelphia.
She stayed three seasons and transferred back to Long Island for the fall semester.
"It was one of the best decisions," she said. "My family made it to every game. It meant a lot to me."
Since she dropped from Division I to II, the chore of losing a season of eligibility wasn't necessary. Instead, she was thrust into an interesting situation. Adelphi is one of the top Division II powers in the nation each season.
Playing local rival C.W. Post was one of the more thrilling rushes of her career.
"I've never experienced anything like that," she said.
In the regular season, the Pioneers handed the Panthers their only loss, a 21-16 devastating beating. Adelphi returned the favor in the NCAA Tournament Semifinals by ousting Post after a 14-9 win.
"When we lost to them in the regular season it was a very big shock to all of us," said Incarnato, who scored five goals and added nine assists in 19 games this season. "Beating them though was a good as winning a National Championship."
A health and physical education major, Incarnato will graduate this winter and hopes to land a teaching job. She plans on volunteering on the coaching staff at Adelphi in the fall and would love an opportunity to coach and teach at Sachem one day.