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Stephen's Playoff Predictions: Nassau
Before we start, I’ll slap this disclaimer in: Thought and objectivity went into these predictions, so if I picked against your team, it doesn’t mean that I dislike them or have any less respect for them. This is my third season covering lacrosse and I can say with complete honesty that there hasn’t been a team or person I’ve met whom I dislike or would root against in any way. (I’ve had this conversation with some former players, too.) But it’s the playoffs and all teams get eliminated but one. No hating, I’m just trying to get it right.
Any team that considers this added motivation, g'on ahead. And in the instances I’m wrong and your team wins, feel free to brag. Tweet me @StephenHaynes4. Creative – but clean – trash talk will get a retweet.
Nassau Class A semifinals
No. 1 Syosset vs. No. 5 Farmingdale
I give credit to Syosset for advancing a round beyond where it finished last season, but I think Farmingdale wins here. The Dalers are the seven-time defending champs and their talent combined with experience in these games should give them an edge.
Prediction: 14-7, Farmingdale
No. 3 Port Washington vs. No. 2 Massapequa
It’s a rematch of last year’s semifinal, which the Chiefs won, 17-9. They also beat them 14-5 two weeks ago. I think this game will be a closer, but I have to give the nod to Massapequa. Pequa’s defense has come on – and Jamie Ahrens has improved – and they haven’t allowed double-digit goals in nearly a month. Held Farmingdale to six in a loss on April 29.
Prediction: 11-8, Massapequa
Nassau Class B semifinals
No. 5 Long Beach vs. No. 1 Garden City
Same matchup as last year’s semifinal, and Garden City won that, 17-5. I don’t think this one will have as lopsided a score and the Marines should be pumped coming off that 8-7 win over Plainedge, but the Trojans should win this. They’ve been there and done that; did it again and done it better for good measure.
Prediction: 15-7, Garden City
No. 3 Wantagh vs. No. 2 Manhasset
Another “same matchup as last year” game. Wantagh won it, 17-15, last season and went on to really challenge Garden City in the final. But I think Manhasset is better than it was last season – they’re deeper, have a more balanced offense, and an improved defense. Wantagh has enough talent to erupt offensively, so I wouldn’t be shocked if they won. But Manhasset is the better team and its 19-7 win over the Warriors in the regular season has to be considered.
Prediction: 15-12, Manhasset
Nassau Class C semifinals
No. 4 Seaford vs. No. 1 Cold Spring Harbor
Seaford almost pulled the upset over eventual champ North Shore last year, and Cold Spring Harbor, as the favorites in 2011, did get bumped in the semis that year. Seaford has firepower in Emma Schait and Ali Glazer, and they can’t be overlooked. But Cold Spring Harbor wins this matchup. Playing in Conference I – and holding their own – has the Seahawks battle-tested and they look like a better overall team than last year.
Prediction: 14-9, Cold Spring Harbor
No. 3 Locust Valley vs. No. 2 North Shore
I actually think this one’s a coin toss. I expect a high-scoring, back-and-forth game that’ll come down to the last few minutes… possibly overtime. North Shore has more depth, but Taylor Bleistein and Bairre Reilly will be tough to contain. But I’ve seen North Shore pull rabbits out of the hat before and they are the defending champs, so I’ll lean on that a little.
Prediction: 16-15, North Shore
Nassau Class A final
Massapequa vs. Farmingdale
Again. If all goes as I expect, these teams will play for the county championship for a ninth straight year. Farmingdale has won the previous seven, and I have them winning this year as well. The Dalers won, 15-7, last season. Farmingdale’s offense hasn't been as explosive as in year’s past – they beat Massapequa 6-5 in the regular season – so I expect a closer game. But, still, Farmingdale can rely on its experience and the two best offensive players in the game will be on their team (Nadine Hadnagy and Amanda Turturro). In what could be a close game, that definitely factors.
Prediction: 12-10, Farmingdale
Nassau Class B final
Manhasset vs. Garden City
Skip the suspense: Manhasset. I’ll probably take the most criticism for this pick, but I think the Indians, top to bottom, are the more talented team and it’ll shine through here. Garden City won the regular season meeting (10-9 in overtime) and seven state championships can’t be disregarded. Would I be surprised if GC won and I heard it from the crowd in every round they advance after? No. But I think Manhasset has a chance to win it all this year. And even their performances in two losses this year can’t be overlooked: playing St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes close and taking St. Anthony’s to overtime. I think this might turn out to be the most exciting and compelling game of the entire playoffs. (Not that it factors much, but Manhasset did break the Trojans’ run of 18 straight Nassau titles in field hockey, pulling out a 1-0 win. Also at Adelphi.)
Prediction: 12-11, Manhasset
Nassau Class C final
North Shore vs. Cold Spring Harbor
Full disclosure: I picked CSH to win the county in 2011 and 2012. Both times their season ended with crushing overtime defeats. Third time’s a charm, right? I think, flat out, they are the best “C” team in Nassau – based on ability and performance – and they proved it throughout the regular season. It counts that they went to overtime with Garden City; that they played Manhasset and Farmingdale close. And they beat North Shore, 11-8, in the regular season. For the first time in four years, a game between these two wasn’t decided by a goal.
Prediction: 13-9, Cold Spring Harbor
* Later this week, I’ll take a shot at predicting the Suffolk brackets and the Long Island championships.