players dropped to their knees in stunned disbelief while the entire boys lacrosse team stormed onto the Hofstra University turf in ecstasy.
That’s how an epic Nassau Class A championship clash ended Tuesday night, with each side acknowledging its role in the improbable finish of perhaps the finest game on Long Island this season. No. 2 Syosset caught fire to score six straight goals in the game’s final 15 minutes to knock off top-seeded Massapequa, 14-13.
"We're down the whole game. Obviously we didn't plan to be in that situation," Syosset Coach John Calabria said. "Our guys never quit. They hung in there mentally, which is tough for high school kids to do."
Syosset (14-4), the preseason favorite, claimed its first title since winning back-to-back crowns in 2007-08. It took a magical finish for the Braves to prevail, beginning with junior goalie Ryan Feit, who made 10 saves and several key stops in the final frantic minutes.
Senior midfield Jon Camposa scored four times to power the Braves. His back-to-back blasts got the Braves started on the comeback trail after falling behind 12-8 with 4:01 left in the third.
"Coach was telling us to keep our heads in the game because it's not over," Camposa said.
Alex Hatzopoulos and Andrew Keith added goals to forge a tie at 12. Then senior midfield Frankie Buffalino struck with 6:44 left to give Syosset its first lead at 13-12.
Freshman attack Alex Concannon’s goal with 3:08 to go was met with a swarm of hugs. Few freshmen have ever scored a bigger goal for the Braves.
"They went on a run, we just couldn't stop it," Massapequa Coach Tim Radomski said. "We tried to come back too late. But what can you do? The kids played hard."
Massapequa (15-3) tried to rally. Dan Muller’s diving goal with 19 seconds left closed to gap. But it was not enough.
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Massapequa ran past the Braves, for first place.
It seemed the Chiefs, appearing in their third straight Nassau title game, would rout Syosset once again. But Syosset won the ground ball battle in the fourth quarter, 6-3. That hustle made all the difference.
"It's hard to beat a team twice," Feit said. "We haven't lost a game since then. So our confidence is through the roof right now."
And now it’s a Braves new world.
Syosset awaits the Suffolk champ. Eight-time champ West Islip faces Ward Melville for the title Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. at Stony Brook University.
The Suffolk winner advances to the Long Island Class A championship June 2 at 3:30 p.m. at Hofstra.
Nassau Boys Lacrosse Class A Championship
Syosset....................1.....6.....2.....5 – 14
Massapequa............4.....5.....3.....1 – 13
Goals – S: Camposa 4, Hunter 2, Diaz 2, Keith 2, Buffalino, Concannon, Hatzopoulos; M: I. Kirby 4, Bentz 3, Berge 2, Savona 2, R. Kirby, Muller. Saves – S: Feit 10; M: Danaher 4.