Nick Accardi, Mike Bellissimo lead Rocky Point lacrosse win
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Nick Accardi has a nickname. It's not exactly one he wears with pride.
"We kid him and call him 'The Fluff' " Rocky Point coach Mike Bowler said of his senior defenseman. That's because his shot is not exactly, um, hard.
But The Fluff had the Right Stuff late Wednesday, stripping the ball away from a Mount Sinai attack in overtime, racing the length of the field and beating standout goalie Billy Poillon with 1:08 remaining in the extra period to give host Rocky Point a hard-earned 9-8 victory over the Mustangs in a Suffolk Division II game.
"It was a double-team. We got the ball on the ground and I picked it up," Accardi said. "I usually look to pass the pass. Everyone makes fun of me that I can't shoot."
Mount Sinai must have heard the same thing, because its defense retreated and no one picked up Accardi as he came across midfield. "No one slid to me, so I kept going. I shot it high to low, bottom right," Accardi said. "That's just my second shot this season. It's the first game-winner I've ever had and it's an unbelievable feeling."
It was especially sweet because Accardi had cost his team a key possession late in regulation by taking a too-many-men-on-the field penalty.
"That was bad," he said. "If we lost, that would've been on me."
But the Eagles (3-3) overcame Accardi's gaffe thanks in part to the inspired play of attack Mike Bellissimo. He scored five goals, picking up some necessary slack because his two linemates -- and according to Bowler the team's top offensive players -- Justin Reh (broken foot; out for the season) and Austin Mentnech (broken wrist; out another three weeks) were watching in casts.
Mount Sinai (4-2) had taken an 8-7 lead with 7:42 left on Mike Faughnan's third goal. And with Poillon, whose brother Matt is a sophomore starting goalie at Lehigh, making 17 saves, that lead looked secure.
Bellissimo had other ideas. "Those are my boys," he said of Reh and Mentnech. "I had to step up for them."
After a timeout with 28 seconds left, Bellissimo recalled, "Coach said, 'Give Mike the ball.' I did a roll dodge and made an inside roll to the left. Billy's a great goalie. I've been playing against him in youth leagues for years. I shot it high. It hit the pipe in the top corner and went in on the inside corner. Best feeling in the world."
The Fluff shared such a feeling a few minutes later. Time for a new nickname.