ROCHESTER — It was an historic three-peat for Cold Spring Harbor, but it wasn’t as easy as 1-2-3.
The Seahawks scored five consecutive goals in the fourth quarter, when they took their first lead, and held off tough Jamesville-DeWitt, 11-9, Saturday in the state Class C final at St. John Fisher College.
Seniors led Cold Spring Harbor, which finished 21-0 and extended its overall winning streak to 28 games. Taylor Strough scored four goals, Matt Licciardi scored two goals with two assists, and Ian Laviano and Kane Jaklitsch contributed two goals each.
Cold Spring Harbor became the first Long Island boys program ever to win three consecutive state titles. “There’s been a lot of lacrosse played on Long Island, a lot of really good lacrosse, and nobody’s ever done it,” Seahawks coach Dennis Bonn said. “Think about it. The Ward Melvilles, the Garden Cities, the Manhassets, the West Islips. We happen to have the luck of the draw — hard work and talent — and we did it.”
Cold Spring did it the hard way, spotting Jamesville-DeWitt, which came into the game on an 18-game winning streak, a 5-1 second-quarter lead, before Strough scored twice in 36 seconds and Teddy Bentley tallied to make it 5-4 at the half.
“I told them at one of the timeouts that we were here two years ago against Cazenovia and we were down 4-0 at the end of the first quarter,” Bonn said. “I said, ‘We’re only down three now, we’re playing with house money.’ They chuckled a little bit.”
Bonn’s memory was a little fuzzy as Cold Spring Harbor was only down 3-0 in the first quarter against Cazenovia before winning the 2015 state title, 9-8. But he’d made his point. “I was a little nervous in the beginning, not going to lie,” Strough said. “But Coach just said, ‘Stay on it, stay on it. You’re still in this. As long as you keep grinding, you’ll come back.’ ”
The grinding didn’t really begin in earnest until the fourth quarter, shortly after Nico Fontana had given the Red Rams (21-2) an 8-6 lead. Strough was again in the middle of things, ripping one from outside and then 30 seconds later tying the game on a feed from Licciardi.
Licciardi, who won only 10 of 22 faceoffs against Jack Mulvihill but won three straight draws during the comeback, put Cold Spring Harbor on top for good at 9-8 when he pounced on a rebound off a blast by Strough that caromed off the chest of goalie Bennett Chirico and flipped it into the cage.
“I just tried to make a play on the ball and put it into the back of the net,” said Licciardi, who leaped and thrust both hands skyward after that goal. “I think I lost my hearing I was so excited.”
Jaklitsch scored twice in 41 seconds to make it 11-8 with 6:13 left. Fontana landed a hard shot from the perimeter with 3:52 left to make it 11-9, but the Seahawks’ defense, led by brothers Dylan and Hunter Guarneri and goalie Chris Porzelt (12 saves) shut down the Red Rams in the final minutes.
“Our defense was definitely the difference in the fourth quarter,” Strough said. “They started talking more and sliding. I give them all the credit. And our goalie, Chris Porzelt, was absolutely the MVP. He was outstanding.”
Strough actually was voted game MVP. “I don’t even know what to say. It’s absolutely unbelievable to do what this team did,” Strough said. “I went up in the stands afterwards and saw my father [Scott Strough] and I just broke down in tears. Three in a row, it’s unheard of.”