Joe Grossi woke up Wednesday with one thought on his mind: In a few hours he could be playing in his final high school lacrosse game.
That didn't sit well with him. It made the Lynbrook senior attack eager. He was fired up. This wasn't going to be the end, Grossi thought, without him giving it his all.
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Ultimately, he did.
"That was my mentality from the start," Grossi said. "I knew I had to play at the top level of my ability to win this game and though we didn't come out on top, I just wanted to give everything I could, one last time for these guys on this team."
Despite Grossi's four goals, Lynbrook lost to Yorktown, 9-6, Wednesday night in a state Class B semifinal at Hofstra.
Yorktown (17-5) will play Jamesville-Dewitt at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Hofstra. Lynbrook, which had captured its first L.I. title since 2000, finished 19-2.
"We didn't set any specific goals; our goal was to become as close as we possibly could with each other and they accomplished that," Lynbrook coach William Leighley said. "This is a special group and I love them unconditionally."
Grossi, who finished with 57 goals and 23 assists, sliced through two defenders and got Lynbrook to within 9-6 off an assist from Austin Fabel (one goal, two assists) with 3:43 left.
"Joe is a beast and I love him," Leighley said. "If my son turns out just like him or even close to him, I'll be one lucky dad. He's just a special kid, man. You can look him in the eye and ask him to do something and he just does it."
Yorktown, on the strength of a 6-0 run, led 8-4 after the third quarter, but Lynbrook held it to only one goal in the fourth.
Lynbrook goalie Brendan McDougal made eight saves and defender Eddie Bouhall had eight ground balls and caused six turnovers. Freshman long-stick midfielder Nick Paris gave the Owls a lift off the bench with three ground balls and two caused turnovers.
After the game, Bouhall, a player who wears his emotions on his sleeve, knelt in front of one of the nets and didn't move until a group of teammates consoled him.
"I've been around the game of lacrosse for a long time and I don't want to use the expression 'once in a lifetime,' but he's close to that," Leighley said of Bouhall. "He's a special kid and when you love something and you let it show like that, it's a real special thing."
Though Grossi will be at Binghamton next season, it's conceivable Lynbrook, which will return seven starters including McDougal and Bouhall, will be in the mix for another deep run. No one will quickly forget this year, however.
"It's tough to lose how we lost, but ultimately I'm happy with how far we came," Grossi said. "Since the beginning, nobody really gave us a shot. We took this team as far as we could take it and we gave everything we could until the final whistle blew today."