Massapequa is the center of the soccer universe

Massapequa's captains, Kathryn Hatziyianis, Nicole Mahin and Taylor Massapequa's captains, Kathryn Hatziyianis, Nicole Mahin and Taylor Kugler collect the championship hardware after their win over North Rockland. (Nov. 17, 2013) Photo Credit: Pat Orr

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Funny, a heavy plaque buildup is the reason they can't stop smiling. Championship plaques, that is.

Massapequa compiled a lot of those this fall. And when the Chiefs' soccer teams rocked the state tournament last month, Massapequa became only the sixth Long Island school to have a boys and girls team win state titles in the same sport in the same season.

"It's definitely something you don't expect to happen often," Massapequa athletic director John Piropato said.

"The programs are always strong, but this was phenomenal. Everything has to go right and fall in place at the same time."

It was almost simultaneous.

On the morning of Nov. 17, the boys edged Fairport, 1-0, to capture their first state Class AA title in Middletown.

A little later on that day in Cortland, the girls team beat North Rockland, 2-1, securing a fifth championship and adding Massapequa to a short list of dual dominants.

"We went into our game knowing [the boys] had won, so there was even more motivation," junior Jessica Ammendola said. "We were really excited for them and knew it would be the coolest thing if we could both come home as champions."

The last time that happened was June 2012, when the Shoreham-Wading River and Garden City lacrosse teams swept their respective tournaments.

"It's what every team, every school, aspires to achieve," Piropato said.

Not to be outdone, Massapequa swimming star Molly Treble also brought home gold, winning the state 200-yard freestyle championship.

"We were all eager to go to school the next day," Ammendola said. "Everybody we came in contact with congratulated us."

Boys soccer coach Keith Stanley, an elementary school teacher, said he was "surprised to see how many people were into it."

Even in his school, Chiefs signs plastered the walls.

And that's part of the formula, Piropato said. In addition to "talented athletes and dedicated coaches," he attributed Massapequa's success to the youth leagues and the support of a close-knit community that loves its sports.

"Winning states is probably a once-in-a-lifetime experience for most athletes," Ammendola said. "So to know that feeling and be able to share it with other schoolmates, not just your team, that takes it to another level."

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