After Lynbrook’s seven-goal lead through three quarters of last Monday’s Nassau Class B boys’ lacrosse playoff game was cut to four by visiting Kennedy with just over nine minutes remaining in regulation, the Owls found another gear.
With the Cougars knocking on the door for more, Lynbrook defender Matt Mott forced a turnover, raced the length of the field and assisted Nick LoCicero on a goal that regained momentum for the Owls in a 14-9 victory. LoCicero and Gordon Purdie each recorded a hat trick, while Owen Daly added a goal and two assists and 15 faceoff wins.
“We needed to stop their run,” said Mott, whose goal late in the third quarter put his team up 11-4. “If the opportunity is there, I’ll take the ball and go with it. I just felt we had to get the momentum back.”
Joe Grossi (two), Mike McVeigh, Matt Murphy, Drew Torre and Dan Kelly also scored for Lynbrook (12-4), which advanced to meet Long Beach in the quarterfinals at Hofstra University on May 16 at 4:30 p.m. The Marines eliminated the Owls in the first round in 2012.
“I feel we’re peaking at the right time,” Lynbrook coach Bill Leighley said. “We were thinking about matching up our top guys with Kennedy’s top guys, but then once we got a lead we stayed with a zone. They’ve got some playmakers, so we told our offensive guys to keep the pedal down and that’s what they did.”
Christopher Racalbuto scored three times and Chris Jones had a goal and three assists to lead Kennedy (8-7), which led twice in the opening quarter but trailed from the 7:14 mark of the second. “I’ve been doing this for 22 years and this was arguably my favorite group,” Cougars coach Craig Papach said. “I thought we played really well in the first quarter, but we knew they could score fast. The first five minutes of the third quarter were important and we let their lead grow a little too much.
“It’s always sad when it ends, but I’m incredibly proud of this team,” he added.