With his father, Adelphi University's Australian-born men's lacrosse coach Gordon Purdie, watching from the stands at Hofstra's Shuart Stadium Tuesday night, Gordie Purdie had a g'day, mate.
The younger Purdie scored five goals and teammate Joe Grossi added three goals and two assists as Lynbrook defeated Bethpage, 9-5, in a Nassau B semifinal.
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"Everything I know about lacrosse, I learned from my dad," Purdie said. "He put a stick in my hand when I was very young, but he never pressured me to play lacrosse."
In fact, Purdie Sr. revealed, he wasn't the first person to put a stick in his son's hand. "On the day he was born, my anesthesiologist, a friend of the family and a lacrosse fan, put a stick in his crib," Gordon said. "Then he grew to love the sport."
That was evident Tuesday night as Purdie showed some fancy stickwork, scoring three goals on low-to-high blasts in the first half, two on assists from Grossi. The Owls (17-1) led only 4-2 at the half against the tough zone employed by Bethpage (13-5).
"Gordie finds the soft spots in the zone and I keep my eye out for him," Grossi said. "It took us a while to crack the zone, but the key is to be patient and work the ball quickly."
When Lynbrook finally pulled away in the second half, Purdie scored on a nifty quick-stick move in front in the third quarter and made it 8-3 in the fourth when he leaped high in front of the cage and spiked it home. Grossi contributed two third-quarter goals.
Purdie is well-schooled in his father's sport, but because he was born and raised in America, he doesn't have senior's delightful Aussie accent. "Dad never pressured me to play lacrosse," Purdie said. "When I quit for a year in seventh grade to play baseball, he took me to every game. I decided on my own to go back to lacrosse the next year."
That seems like a good choice as Purdie led Lynbrook into next Tuesday's Nassau B final at Hofstra against the winner of Wednesday's Manhasset-Garden City semifinal. There will be one very interested fan in attendance, as his son's exploits have taken the sting out of Adelphi's loss to LIU Post in the Division II semifinal.
"I'm a very proud dad tonight. I loved the way he valued the ball," Purdie Sr. said.
Once a dad, always a dad; once a coach, always a coach.