Ryan Tierney, normally an accurate shooter who can pick a spot, thought his shot from the right wing in overtime "went over the cage."
The sidearm bullet actually went into the right corner, but Tierney, the high-scoring Massapequa attack who is the son of Hofstra men's lacrosse coach Seth Tierney, didn't know he scored the game-winner until burly teammate Paul Dilena, all 240 pounds of him, delivered a bear hug that was more like a body check.
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"I didn't realize I scored until I got rocked by Dilena," Tierney said with an exhausted grin after a grueling 7-6 victory over rival Syosset on Friday in a battle of undefeated Nassau Conference A teams.
There was plenty of rocking before a crowd estimated at 2,000 fans on a brisk, windy day at Syosset High School, as the top two teams in Nassau County played a bruising, physical game that featured seven one-minute penalties and five man-up goals. The Chiefs (7-0 in league, 12-0 overall), the defending Class A state champions, extended their winning streak to 29. The Braves fell to 6-1, 11-1.
"It's a great rivalry the last few years because both teams are so good and they know each other from summer ball," Massapequa coach Tim Radomski said. "But this isn't what I expected. I thought it would be more run-and-gun and not as physical. This is just Round 1."
That's because it's likely the teams will meet again for the county championship. "It feels great to win this one, but I know we'll see them later," said Tierney, who also scored the first goal of the game and has 30 for the season. Griff Konen scored three goals for Massapequa, all assisted by Carter Hawthorne. Dilena scored the tying goal with 5:32 left that ultimately forced overtime.
Lucas Cotler led Syosset with two goals and two assists and J.P. Lannig scored two goals, including one of two extra-man goals the Braves scored to recover from a 2-0 deficit to lead 3-2 at the half.
Lannig and Cotler scored late in the third quarter for a 5-3 lead. But Syosset got victimized by its own rough play as Massapequa scored a pair of man-up goals to tie it at 5 with 9:21 left in the fourth. Matt Benus put Syosset ahead with 5:59 left before Dilena answered 37 seconds later.
Radomski called Dilena's number out of a timeout in overtime, but Tierney's defender slipped. "No one slid, otherwise I would've passed it to Paul," Tierney said. "I just got open and put it on goal."
In goal, as it turned out.