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Hewlett beats Bethpage at buzzer

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For the second time in three games, Hewlett’s boys’ lacrosse team used some late heroics to earn a thrilling victory. Freshman Jared Strauss deflected a pass from junior Jimmy Anderson with a second remaining last Friday night to give the Bulldogs a wild 10-9 win over Bethpage.

“It’s tremendous,” Hewlett coach Adam Hopkins said. “We couldn’t run the exact play we wanted given the way they defended us, so we went to Plan B. I don’t think Jared would’ve had enough time to catch the ball and shoot, so it was a good deflection to get.”

The Bulldogs (3-3 in Conference B-II; 7-6 overall) faced a two-goal deficit with less than three minutes remaining but rallied to take a 9-8 lead with 1:35 to go on senior Jeremy Leguillow’s breakaway goal. Bethpage’s Anthony Focey tied it with 30 seconds remaining, but Hewlett senior Jordan Kranser won the ensuing faceoff that led to the decisive goal.

“We may have looked at their record and underestimated them,” Hopkins said. “To Bethpage’s credit, they played well. Their goalie played his best game of the year. We were complacent at times, but it was great that for the second time in a week we were able to find that extra something late in a game when we needed to.”

Senior Zach Richman had four goals and two assists, while junior Gianluca Vardaro continued his recent surge with a fifth straight multi-goal performance, adding a hat trick. Junior Matt Miller also scored, and junior goalies Justin Isaacs (seven) and Jack Vershilser combined for eight saves. Matt Hanley made 17 stops for the Golden Eagles, who got four goals from Ryan Mahon.

It was Hewlett’s eighth game — and third in a row — decided by three goals or fewer. The Bulldogs were coming off a well-played 7-5 defeat at Manhasset on May 1. Isaacs was strong between the pipes with 14 saves. Richman and Vadaro netted two goals apiece, and junior Kevin Fuchs added one. “It was one of the tougher game we’ve ever played against Manhasset,” Hopkins explained. “Justin had a really strong game and the defense played well in front of him. We just needed to finish a little better.”

Hewlett got a small measure of revenge against Carey on April 23, winning a rematch of last year’s first-round playoff game 8-7 on the road. The Seahawks, who ended the Bulldogs season in 2012, scored five goals in the fourth quarter but Richman had the game-winner with 2:36 remaining off a feed from Fuchs. Vershilser made 10 saves. “We went there with a lot of fire and energy,” Hopkins said. “We built a 6-2 lead, they tied it, we went ahead 7-6 and they tied it again. Both teams worked for everything they got.”

The Nassau Class B playoffs open Monday, May 13, and Hopkins said he’s hoping for a top four finish in B-II which would bring a first-round home game.