Babylon found an answer to the age-old question that nags at lacrosse coaches everywhere: How do you win a game when you can't win a faceoff?
"They made it tough," acknowledged Panthers coach John Greaney, a reference to the extraordinary work of Mattituck faceoff specialist Dylan Marlborough, who won 17 of 18 draws.
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Babylon's solution was to make the most of the possessions it did have by working the clock and taking good shots. The plan worked.
Brian Boehm scored two goals with two assists, Nick Antolini scored a goal with three assists and Bodie Pitagno scored three goals as Babylon made it back-to-back Suffolk C championships with a 9-5 victory over Mattituck/Greenport/Southold Wednesday at Stony Brook University's LaValle Stadium.
"We had to hold the ball because the faceoff kid was incredible," Boehm said.
So is Babylon's junior class, which includes. Boehm, Antolini and Pitagno, as well as Jerry Brown, who scored the game's first goal on an athletic solo dash. Theodore Allen, who added two goals for Babylon (16-1), is a sophomore. Goalie Brendan Watt (seven saves) is a promising eighth-grader.
The Panthers' young guns will play for the Long Island Class C championship against Cold Spring Harbor at 1 p.m. on Saturday at LaValle Stadium. Mattituck, which got two goals from its own eighth-grade prodigy, Max Kruzseski, finished 12-3.
"This one feels a lot better," Antolini said, grinning as he noted, "I had a bigger role. We had a lot of great seniors who graduated. We wanted to get this one for ourselves."
Boehm echoed those sentiments, saying Greaney told him he would have a much bigger role this season. "I knew I had to do a lot more," Boehm said.
He was up to the task. "He did it all for us," Greaney said. "He was a two-way middie who played a lot -- a dodger, an initiator. He's been our quarterback all year."
Boehm fed Pitagno for a goal, then scored unassisted with a dodge to the crease to give Babylon a 3-0 lead. The Panthers took firm control with four straight goals in the third quarter that produced an 8-3 lead. Pitagno scored twice; Allen scored on a feed from Boehm and Boehm scored unassisted.
Mattituck rallied briefly on goals by Jeff Hauser and James Hoeg before Antolini restored order with a rip from the wing.
"He's our best stick, a great goal scorer and finisher," Greaney said of Antolini. "That was a big goal to put it away."