Handling Lynbrook’s prolific offense at even strength is difficult enough, and giving it a man advantage is a recipe for disaster. Long Beach found out the hard way in a Nassau Class B boys’ lacrosse quarterfinal playoff game on May 15 when the Owls cashed in six of seven man-up situations on the way to a 9-7 victory under the lights at Adelphi University.
In winning its 11th consecutive game and avenging playoff losses to the Marines in each of the past two seasons, Lynbrook (16-1) got five goals from junior Owen Daly, two goals and three assists from senior Joe Grossi, and 16 saves from junior goaltender Brendan McDougal. Long Beach (9-8) got two goals apiece from senior Liam Rafferty and sophomore Tom Nicpon, and junior goalie Brian Manning made 18 stops.
“Out of all the teams in the playoffs, Long Beach seemed to be clicking on all cylinders coming into the quarterfinals so we knew this was a big hurdle,” Lynbrook coach Bill Leighley said. “It’s gut-wrenching when it gets down to the end like that with the season on the line.”
The Owls, who advanced to meet Bethpage in the semifinals, took the lead for good — 4-3 — less than two minutes into the second quarter on a Grossi goal. They led by as many as four, but the margin trimmed back to one with 6:52 remaining in the third before goals by Daly and Grossi provided breathing room.
“Our whole unit was on fire with the man up,” Leighley said. “They were forcing us outside, but we moved the ball and created some openings up top.”
Long Beach’s inability to kill penalties proved costly. “Penalties were the difference,” Marines coach Jim Kaspar said. “We played well, just like the past four or five games. We were averaging three penalties a game, now all of a sudden we got seven penalties.”
Nicpon’s two goals and one by junior Chris Parler had Long Beach ahead 3-1 late in the first quarter, but the Owls scored five straight including all four in the second quarter (senior Michael McVeigh, Grossi, junior Gordon Purdie, and Daly) to lead 6-3 at halftime. Junior Eddie Bouhall and sophomores Zach Barrett and Quentin Herrmann led the defense.