It was just over two years ago that Alec Gregorek and his Shoreham-Wading River teammates walked off the field against Mount Sinai with an overtime victory in the 2019 boys lacrosse Suffolk Class C title game.
After losing last season because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the anticipation for the rematch only grew. And even though there were some new faces playing key roles, Saturday’s Suffolk II season finale for both teams lived up to the hype, and then some.
Gregorek scored four goals, including the winner in overtime, to lead the Wildcats to an 11-10 win. Both teams finish the regular season at 13-1 and will be the top seeds in Class C as the Suffolk playoffs get underway this week.
It’s possible they won’t have to wait more than two weeks to get a rematch this time.
"This is always a big rivalry," Gregorek said. "We just went into practice everyday focused and we came here and performed. Things clicked but we can still do better and we will if we see them in counties. Hopefully we can do it again."
Mt. Sinai controlled the pace in the first half and went into the break leading 5-4 after Nick Colantonio scored on a pretty give-and-go with Derek Takacs.
Joey Spallina scored his fourth of the game to open up a 9-6 lead for Mt. Sinai with 3:06 remaining in the third before the Wildcats scored four of the final five goals in regulation to force overtime.
Shoreham-Wading River goalkeeper Robert Troyano helped make the comeback possible by making 13 saves, each seemingly more important than the next. Troyano came up with a huge stop late in the third that would have extended the Mt. Sinai lead to four goals.
"I just tried to keep my head level the whole time because I knew we were coming up against some good shooters," Troyano said. "I had trust in my defense and knew they were going to let me see the shots so I could make the saves."
"We couldn’t have won without him, period," Gregorek said. "He was the rock of the defense. We gave up some inside feeds and he was right there to stop them. He didn’t let any bad goals in, he was amazing."
Fran Cortes scored three second-half goals for the Wildcats, including two in the final 5-1 run. Liam Kershis scored his second goal off a feed from Jeff Lachenmeyer to force overtime.
"We’ve been looking forward to this game since the start of the season," Cortes said. "All week I had butterflies just thinking about it and to come out and comeback from down three goals is great."