Lynbrook goalie J.D. Gebbia missed last year’s lacrosse season with a broken wrist suffered during football. “Nice scar, right?” he joked, pointing to his left wrist.
A fully healed Gebbia probably felt like he made up for all that lost time in the first half Wednesday. The senior made 16 of his 19 saves before the break and the attack tandem of Zach LoCicero and Ryan Candel combined for nine goals and five assists as Lynbrook defeated Wantagh, 14-7, in a duel of undefeated teams in Nassau B-II.
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“He had a wonderful first half and that was the difference in the game,” Lynbrook coach Bill Leighley said after the host Owls improved to 4-0.
Gebbia was especially sharp in the first quarter when he stopped eight shots, many from point-blank range, and held the Warriors (3-1) scoreless. The only goal of the first quarter was the first of five for Candel. The second quarter, however, was a different story.
Gebbia again stopped eight shots, but most of those weren’t dangerous and his saves triggered Lynbrook’s transition game. LoCicero (four goals, four assists) scored three straight goals, Candel scored unassisted with a slick spin move, Brandon Fabel cut down the alley for a dunk and Eddie Perlstein nailed a bouncer from the top of the box that beat the halftime horn for a 7-1 lead.
When Candel took a feed from LoCicero and scored with fake-high, shoot-low maneuver three minutes into the second half, the Owls had an 8-1 edge after six straight goals. Candel netted three more in the third quarter, two on passes from LoCicero, as Lynbrook built a 14-4 lead.
“J.D. was outstanding. When he made those saves, it got our transition game going,” said Candel, a former basketball player who used his 6-3 height to back-in advantage, similar to a low-post move on the court. “My basketball background has definitely influenced my game.”
LoCicero credited Gebbia for influencing yesterday’s contest. “It all started with our goalie and our defense,” he said. “They’re always backing us up so we definitely wanted to go out and score some goals.”
Lynbrook’s defense was sparked by Zach Barrett, whose lockdown man-to-man defense early and effective second-half zone held Nassau County scoring leader Dylan Beckwith to just one assist. “The defense gave up the right kind of shots,” Gebbia said. “They didn’t really get many good looks.”
He said he’s never had that many saves in a game, but after a year of inactivity, loved being a part of the action. “When you make a lot of saves in a row, the team feeds off that energy,” Gebbia said.
Of the Owls’ defensive effort Leighley said, “Between Barrett and the job our goalie did, it was a pleasure to watch.”