15 Sep 2014
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Syosset Boys Lacrosse Hangs Tough In Loss

Braves on short end of 15-7 ‘Battle of Wills’ in Long Beach.

The Syosset Braves boys lacrosse team hung tough, but lost a slugfest at Long Beach Wednesday 15-7, in a contest that coach John Calabria called “a battle of wills.“

“They won the ground balls, they made us make mistakes,” Calabria said. “Long Beach put themselves into a position to win. It was a good physical game.”

“Syosset is a good lacrosse team, and they play a physical game,” Long Beach coach Jim Kaspar said. “But that’s Class A lacrosse -- it’s a tougher conference. Teams like Garden City and Wantagh, that’s a finesse game. A is physical.”

As if to prove their coaches right, there was plenty of banging by both teams on the field. Though the game was relatively penalty free, it was executed at a high physical and emotional pitch, and a number of players on both sides took their share of bumps.

Syosset (5-3, 7-6 overall) came out with determination, scoring two minutes into it when John Diaz took advantage of a defender’s slip and scored. Long Beach (7-2, 10-3 overall) retaliated at 7:55, in a man-up situation, when Connor Sofield found Joseph Radin open.

It wasn’t until six minutes into the second quarter, with the game knotted at 2-2, that the Mariners got untracked.

Beginning with a solo shot from George Ambrosini and a ‘gimme’ into an open net from thirty yards out, Long Beach was off on a 9-2 run that put the game all but out of reach for the Braves.

To their credit, Syosset didn’t cave at 10-3. A 3-1 run, punctuated by goals for Robert Storrie, Ryan Hunter and John Diaz, narrowed it to five. But with 4:26 remaining, Tom Hamlet found James Forkin open for Mariners goal number 12 -- and a quick move at 2:37 from Sofield Connor, playing isolation behind the net, sealed the win for Long Beach.

Goalies for both teams did yeoman work -- the combined work of Matt Alessandri and Ryan Feit in the Braves’ goal accounted for 12 saves. Mike Rourke notched 10 for Long Beach.

Syosset was led by Diaz, Storrie and Ryan Hunter, with two goals apiece. Frank Buffalino and Brett Meisel each chipped in one. Long Beach was led by James Forkin with six goals. Six other Mariners scored, including Hamlet (2), and Connor Sofield, Jake Shapiro, Blake Gregor, Joe Radin and Shaun Bogart.

“The situation tonight was a battle of the wills," Calabria said. “It came down to who wanted this game more. Long Beach did.”

Syosset finishes the regular season with games at Plainview JFK (May 14, 10 am) and at home on May 17, versus Oceanside (4:30 pm).

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