South Side entered the Nassau Class B boys’ lacrosse playoffs riding the momentum of three straight strong defensive efforts, but offensive-minded North Shore managed at least two goals in every quarter of last Monday’s first-round matchup and held on for a 9-8 home victory.
The Cyclones staged a furious rally in the fourth quarter with five goals, but couldn’t come up with the equalizer in the last 10 seconds to force overtime. The Vikings got five goals and an assist off the stick of Dan Grabher, and 16 saves from goaltender Ryland Frost. South Side’s Cole Considine and Eric Gennari had three goals apiece.
“If we would’ve played the first three quarters like we did the last one, we might have won by six goals,” Cyclones coach Steve DiPietro said. “It’s disappointing, but I’m proud we didn’t quit. Most teams would’ve mailed it in trailing by five early in the fourth quarter. We made a push, but we needed another minute or two.”
North Shore, which finished third in Conference B-II, outscored South Side, the sixth-place team in B-I, in each of the first three quarters. The Vikings (11-5), who got two goals from Chris McGinley and one apiece from Bryan Goetz and Rich Hajok, led by one after the opening stanza and by 5-2 at halftime. “We knew they had a very good offense,” DiPietro said. “We liked the matchups we had. We just didn’t have enough energy early. We didn’t capitalize on our scoring chances or pick up many groundballs in the first half.”
The Cyclones (6-10) trailed 7-3 after three quarters and gave up a goal early in the fourth before cranking up the engine. Playing desperate, they came through with a handful of takeaways and turned them into goals at the other end, DiPietro said. They got within 8-7 before Grabher struck for the last time with 1:16 remaining. The insurance goal proved vital after South Side found the net with 10 seconds to play.
“Grabher is a stud,” DiPietro said. “He does everything for them. He did a great job on draws and scored big goals.”
In addition to Frost having a strong game in the North Shore cage, the Cyclones clanged shots off the post all day. “We must have hit the post five or six times,” DiPietro said. “If one or two of those go in, maybe we’re still playing.”
The Cyclones closed the regular season with inspired efforts against Kennedy (10-3 victory on May 3), Garden City (5-3 loss on May 7), and Mepham (7-4 win on May 9) to finish with a .500 record (4-4) in conference play. Considine, who led the team in goals this spring with 22, scored three times against Kennedy and had a hand in all seven goals (two goals, five assists) against Mepham. Gennari, who had 19 goals on the year, totaled six in those three contests.