Ward Melville attack Dylan Pallonetti isn’t satisfied with just one state lacrosse championship.
After being a part of the Patriots’ improbable stretch of scoring four goals in 61 seconds to force overtime and then going on to win the state Class A boys lacrosse title last season, Pallonetti, now a junior, wants to be at the forefront of another deep postseason run.
“We want it,” Pallonetti said. “I don’t see anybody on this team that doesn’t, so we’re just going to try to grind to get it back-to-back.”
And it’s more than just words for Pallonetti. On Thursday, the junior scored eight goals with two assists as No. 1 Ward Melville defeated No. 5 Connetquot, 14-8, in the Suffolk A semifinals at Islip and has been named Newsday’s Athlete of the Week.
Although Pallonetti was the one on the finishing end of more than half the goals, he deferred the credit to his teammates making the plays possible.
“We really had the ball moving,” he said. “There were a couple open feeds I saw so I just took them and it went to the back of the net so it worked out.”
Coach Jay Negus said the Patriots’ offense features multiple dynamic players and they take advantage of utilizing the player with the hot hand that day, which was unquestionably Pallonetti on Thursday. He added it was a performance they “expect” out of their three-year player.
“Dylan put the team on his back and did a great job offensively,” Negus said. “Dylan’s a fantastic player, an extremely competitive player.”
And the success on the lacrosse field has become a family affair to Pallonetti, as his older brother, Ryan, is a standout two-way midfielder. Pallonetti remembers when the two played roller hockey on their driveway at 4-years-old.
“It started there,” Pallonetti said. “And then to play such big games like this, we really feel the chemistry together.”
“You can tell they’re always looking for each other,” Negus said. “They definitely have that relationship. They’re real tight and it’s great having them both on the team.”
Pallonetti, at 5-11, 150 pounds, plays an aggressive style that can create matchup problems for opponents, a critical part of Ward Melville’s 17-1 record.
“Dylan’s hard as nails,” Negus said. “He plays so much bigger than he is and has great hand control and he hit some unbelievable shots.”
With a Suffolk A final against No. 3 Half Hollow Hills East set for 7 p.m. Wednesday at Islip, Pallonetti is completely focused on keeping the Patriots run to back-to-back state championships going, regardless of personal stats, trying to continue the legacy left by last year’s senior class.
“Those seniors were great,” he said. “They always had the heart, they always wanted to win so I just took what they said and what they did and did it on the field this year.”
“It’s their story this year,” Negus said. “Last year was last year and as great as it was, it’s time for them to uphold the standard and write their own story.”