Tears poured down the face of Garden City's Kevin Dachille. Two realizations hit the senior midfielder at the same time. One made him mad; the other made him sad.
The joy ride of a lifetime ended for the Trojans Saturday, as they were overwhelmed by Jamesville-DeWitt, 11-5, in the state Class B championship game at Stony Brook's LaValle Stadium. "We made some mistakes. They capitalized. They finished," Dachille said in clipped sentences. Clearly, he didn't care to elaborate on a game that wasn't really close from the middle of the second quarter on.
More poignant, however, was this declaration from the co-captain, who scored Garden City's first goal. "The most enjoyable time of my life was practicing and playing with my teammates," he said, wiping his eyes. "I learned a lot being captain with these guys. This hasn't sunk in yet. Maybe in a couple of months, I'll be able to think about the season."
Those will be positive reflections that should easily erase the pain of this loss.
"The seniors had a great year," said senior middie Matt Montgomery, the quarterback of the unbeaten Long Island champions, who had a goal. "We won the Long Island football championship. Beating Comsewogue in double overtime for our first Long Island [lacrosse] championship in 10 years made this a special season."
The 2010 Trojans (18-4) ended a four-year losing streak in the Long Island championship game with a thrilling 9-8 double-overtime victory over Comsewogue on Tuesday. They won another instant classic, 5-4, over powerful Niskayuna on Thursday in a state semifinal to reach the state title game for the first time since 2000.
"Hats off to the seniors," senior defenseman Bill Sweeney said. "We weren't a superstar class with a lot of big-time Division I prospects. The juniors were the stars, but the seniors held the team together."
Junior defensemen Brian Fischer and Steve Jahelka and attack Tom Gordon were the big-name underclassmen. "At the beginning of this season, people were already talking about next year," Montgomery said, referring to conventional wisdom that Garden City reached the state finals a year ahead of schedule. "That's why this is a special senior class."
Sweeney, also a defensive star on the football team, acknowledged that the Trojans met their match against Jamesville-DeWitt, a suburban Syracuse school that lost its best player, Syracuse-bound senior All-American middie Jake Bratek, to a broken collarbone right before the playoffs. The Red Rams still had plenty of talent.
"They made us look bad today," Sweeney said. "They picked us apart off the ball. We let up 11 goals. That says a lot about them. And they had a great defense."
Jamesville-DeWitt (22-0) had four players score two goals each and caused 15 turnovers. Eric DeJohn scored two goals with three assists and Cam Stone had two goals and two assists. A 4-1 second-quarter burst, capped by Evan Jordan's crushing goal with nine-tenths of a second left, provided a 7-3 halftime advantage.
"They were the better team," Garden City coach Steve Finnell said. "Very athletic and outstanding on ground balls. But it was a great run for this team. The seniors won three county championships, a Long Island title and played in the state championship game. We showed a lot of heart against Comsewogue and Niskayuna."
Those hearts were broken Saturday.