North Shore upsets Wantagh to reach Nassau Class B semifinals

North Shore gathers before a game against Cold North Shore gathers before a game against Cold Spring Harbor.

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They're the North Shore Vikings and perhaps after Friday's game nobody will get that wrong again.

When they showed up to play at Hofstra's Shuart Stadium for a Nassau Class B quarterfinal game against Wantagh, the North Shore boys lacrosse team noticed most of their names were spelled wrong on the rosters that were handed out before the game. And even more embarrassing, they were known as the "Vickings" on the scoreboard.

North Shore, however, were unfazed by the oversights, and in fact, they said they thrived off them. Led by senior attack Dan Grabher, who had three goals and two assists and won 21 out of 23 faceoffs, No. 6 North Shore upset No. 3 Wantagh, 12-8.

"They completely disrespected us and we used that as motivation," Grabher said. "It's starting to become common and we like it."

The Vikings (12-5), using an underdog mentality as an advantage, wasted no time on offense. The team scored six goals in the first quarter, but also surrendered four to Wantagh. Knowing that a fast-paced game would favor Wantagh, a high-scoring team with three attacks who have scored more than 30 goals this year -- Kyle Cain, Brendon Watson and Brian Quinn -- North Shore coach Joe Gallina said he wanted to slow things down after the initial period.

"We didn't want it to be a track meet," said the first year coach. "I told my guys to make sure you are getting in on defense to protect against transition."

The team seemingly responded to its coach.

Grabher's faceoff dominance helped control the ball and when they didn't have possession, sophomore defenseman Jack Goettelmann did everything he could to keep Wantagh's Cain to one goal. North Shore's goalies also played well; Billy Brennan had seven saves and Ryland Frost had five.

"We just played a lot better than them," Grabher said. "We outplayed them."

Gallina said his team didn't scout Wantagh or review any tape and the defensemen did not know who they would be guarding until right before the start of the game. The team remembered last month's 12-11 loss to Wantagh, however.

"I think losing the way we lost helped motivate us," Gallina said. "We should have won that game. It wasn't a tough sell; they knew they could win this game if they played hard and that's what they did."

After the upset win over Conference II powerhouse Wantagh (15-3), North Shore will face No. 1 Manhasset (13-3) in the semifinals.

Grabher and Gallina both said the team is feeling more confident than ever and added they like the team's chances against Manhasset even if no one else does.

"Nobody gave us a shot and we're playing with house money," Gallina said.

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