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Mariana Pastrana took the job nobody wanted when she volunteered to become the goalkeeper two years ago after Forest Hills started its girls’ lacrosse program. It couldn’t have worked out better for her and the team.
“She took it,” senior attack Celeste Roman said. “She sucked it up and she was like, ‘I’ll be goalie,’ and she was amazing.”
Pastrana was the difference in a No. 1-seeded Rangers 8-3 win over No. 2 Brooklyn Tech to help win the program’s first PSAL Bowl Division girls’ lacrosse title at Aviator Sports Complex Sunday. The team was a developmental program last season.
The senior made eight saves, including three at point-blank range. She shut out Brooklyn Tech in the first half, thanks to five saves and Forest Hills (17-1) built a 4-0 lead. She said she learned from having to make 20 saves to beat the Engineers (14-4) 5-4 in the team’s regular season finale May 7.
“I usually never have to save as many for a game, but I knew [Tech] was going to be on my side the whole time. I was ready for it,” Pastrana said.
The sprite-like keeper’s stature doesn’t exactly make her a physically imposing force in the net. Forest Hills Coach Natalie Shimizu said people underestimate her because of it. Pastrana garnered the name Lady Bug for the red helmet she wore through the season. Her teammates chanted it after it was announced she was the game’s most valuable player.
“She’s been amazing ever since last year,” Shimizu said. “She’s one of the best athletes.”
The Rangers got balanced scoring as Natalia Ballester, Alexa Criollo and Roman scored two goals a piece. Manuela Garcia and Jennifer Acevedo each added a goal. Roman had the two biggest scores of the game by tallying the first and fourth goals in the first half.
“I saw the opportunity and I took it,” she said. “I beamed the lacrosse ball in [the net]. Just to get that [first] goal.”
Shimizu, also the school’s JV girls’ volleyball coach, said how proud she was of the strides the teams made over the last two years. None of them knew anything about the sport when they started. No one expected Forest Hills would accomplish so much this quickly.
“I never expected this to happen,” Pastrana said. “I knew we were a decent team, a strong team, but I never imagined we’d be champions.”
©2013 Community Newspaper Group
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