The Nassau County boys’ lacrosse postseason is still nearly three weeks away, but Calhoun and Long Beach brought playoff-like intensity, quality play and more than its share of muscle to a Conference B matchup April 26.
Senior Jake Lewis broke the last of four deadlocks midway through the third quarter as the Colts took the lead for good in a 9-7 home victory. Calhoun, which trailed only once, led by as many as three on several occasions in the second half on the way to its fourth win in five games while snapping the Marines’ four-game winning streak.
“It was a big one for both teams,” Calhoun coach Jim Femminella said. “We like to play fast and that really showed in the second half when we forced some key turnovers and made things happen in transition.”
Senior Jayden Finkelstein had two goals and two assists, senior A.J. Molinari added two goals and one assist, and junior goaltender Mark Restivo made 10 stops for Calhoun (7-2), which was coming off a loss to Garden City in a rematch of last year’s Nassau Class B final won by the Trojans.
“Last week’s loss to Garden City took away some of our mojo, but I liked the way we responded,” Femminella said. “Long Beach is a solid team. It was the fifth time in a row we’ve beaten them after they had beat us six in a row.”
Senior Jeff Conway had a hat trick and freshman goalie Aiden DeRupo made seven saves for the Marines, who split their first eight games.
“It was a fun game to be a part of,” Long Beach coach Jason Pearl said. “The kids followed the scouting report and played hard. I don’t think any one play made the difference. Just a few mistakes here and there that we know we can clean up. We’re playing better at the right time.”
After Calhoun senior Ryan Menghi opened the scoring, the Marines produced their lone lead of the afternoon thanks to goals from senior Jack Miller and Conway. The Colts answered with the next pair and led 4-3 at halftime after trading goals in a close-to-the-vest second quarter, with eighth-grader Cian Donaghy tallying for Long Beach before senior Connor Faughnan notched the go-ahead score.
“They did a nice job possessing and slowing us down in the first half,” Femminella said. “We didn’t really change anything for the second half, we were just more aggressive and did a better job on groundballs.”
Conway’s second goal 5:45 into the second half pulled Long Beach even, but the Colts scored three straight (Lewis, Molinari, senior Peter Thomann) for a momentum-shifting 7-4 lead. The margin was 8-6 entering the fourth where Calhoun’s effort in the defensive zone (Molinari and senior Matthew Baci) halted some crucial Marines’ possessions.
Like the second quarter, each team scored once in the fourth.
Thomann, Baci, Matthew Araneo and Xander Megias led Calhoun’s defense, while seniors Hayden Sofield and Jack Skarren, along with juniors Tom Cieleski and Timmy Monzon, did the same for Long Beach.
“We knew it would be back-and-forth,” Femminella said. “I thought both goalies played well and we were able to hold them off in the fourth quarter.”