Babylon will have to wait at least one more year to win its first state boys lacrosse title.
The Panthers’ three-goal lead evaporated in the final two minutes, and Westlake’s Kyle Donnery scored 44 seconds into overtime to defeat Babylon, 11-10, in a state Class D semifinal Wednesday night at Adelphi.
“We just collapsed at the end,” Babylon senior captain Scott Sasso said.
Babylon coach John Greaney said the Panthers had reached the state semifinals once before, in 2014. They fell to Bronxville.
Scott Zeterberg scored his second goal with 4:10 left in the fourth to give Babylon a 10-7 lead. Jack Hartigan was the only other Panther with two goals.
Three one-minute penalties in the final 2:48 of regulation opened the door for Westlake, which got man-up goals from James Gorman with 1:57 left and Ryan Donnery with 34.9 seconds left. Robert DiNota tied the score at 10 with nine seconds left and drew a penalty as he shot.
Babylon (10-6) won the ensuing faceoff, and Greaney instructed his team to hold the ball until the horn to maintain possession for the start of overtime. But Westlake forced a turnover about 30 seconds into the extra period, leading to Kyle Donnery’s man-up winner.
Babylon’s Brendan Watt (11 saves) made an impressive stop on Donnery’s first shot, but the rebound ricocheted right into Donnery’s shooting pocket. With Watt on the ground after the save, Donnery shot into an empty net from a few feet.
“That rebound, it was just a chip goal right at the end,” Sasso said. “It was unlucky for us.”
Earlier in the fourth quarter, Sasso helped produce two goals in a six-second span that gave Babylon a 9-7 lead with 8:17 remaining. Sasso gained a step on his defender as he came around the cage and scored with 8:23 left. He scooped up a ground ball off the ensuing faceoff and fed Teddy Allen, who scored with 8:17 left.
“We had a lot of confidence after that,” Sasso said. “We were rolling, put two quick ones in and we thought we had it.”
The Wildcats had another idea.
“You’ve got to give them a lot of credit to be down two goals in that amount of time and for them to come back is a kudos, a testament to that team and their coach,” Greaney said. “They made the plays and we didn’t, so hats off to them.”