Ryan McCarthy saved his best for last.
With the score tied at 11 with less than two minutes left in the game, the Oceanside senior attackman beat three defenders, shifted to the right of the goal post and scored the game-winner.
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Oceanside added another goal from midfielder Luke Schwasnick and overcame an early deficit to beat host Hewlett 13-11 Saturday in a non-conference Nassau boys lacrosse game in the opener for both teams.
Oceanside trailed by four after the first quarter but goals from McCarthy (four goals), Schwasnick (three) and Will Remsen (three) triggered a comeback. Though each goal help spark the turnaround, no score provided a bigger lift than McCarthy's last.
"That was the best feeling," he said. "There was a lot of pressure on our shoulders but as soon as the ball went into the net, the weight was lifted."
Said Remsen: "McCarthy's the sparkplug for our team. When he gets going, the whole team gets going."
Well, that didn't quite happen right away Saturday.
McCarthy scored Oceanside's first goal but the team quickly trailed Hewlett 5-1 as the home team started strong on offense. Hewlett attack Zach Richman scored two of his three goals in the opening period. But Oceanside remained unalarmed, despite little experience for many of its players on a varsity roster.
"We knew that once we started clicking that we were going to get back into the game," Remsen said. "It was just a matter of getting those first couple of goals."
Eventually, the goals came. Oceanside clawed back with three goals in the second quarter and four goals in the third.
"We were used to being down because last year we didn't have that great of a season but we have worked so hard since then and we believed we could fight back and get a win this time," said Remsen.
Entering the final quarter down two, Oceanside scored five goals.
"That's the ending you dream about," Oceanside coach James Gillis said. "It was all about composure. We're a young group. A lot of them played as sophomores last year but this is the first time they were in real demanding roles."
Saturday, Oceanside's players stepped up and fulfilled them.