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Cold Spring Harbor wins state lacrosse crown

Cold Spring Harbor's Ian Laviano hits back of

Cold Spring Harbor's Ian Laviano hits back of net for score during the New York State Public High School boys lacrosse state Class C finals where Cold Spring Harbor defeated Penn Yan Academy at Middletown High School in Middletown, New York on June 11, 2016.

MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. — There was blood on the bridge of Matt Licciardi’s nose. “I head-butted a teammate,” the Cold Spring Harbor junior midfielder said . . . with a full-blown smile. “I got a little too excited.”

Licciardi’s exuberance was understandable. It was his red badge of triumph. Cold Spring Harbor scored four goals in 1:54 in the first quarter to set the tone and rolled to a 15-4 victory over Penn Yann on Saturday at Middletown High School to win its second consecutive state Class C boys lacrosse championship.

“We came out flying in the first half,” Licciardi said of Cold Spring Harbor’s 10-1 halftime lead. Taylor Strough, Ian Laviano, Kevin Winkoff and Laviano again made it 5-1 with their first-quarter flurry.

Will Reed, Laviano, Winkoff, Licciardi and Laviano scored in the second quarter. The tallies by Laviano and Winkoff came during a two-minute non-releasable penalty that proved costly as the Seahawks broke it open and were well on their way to going back-to-back. The players were well aware of their accomplishment as they punctuated the postgame team photo by flashing both index fingers and chanting, “One and one! One and one!”

Laviano finished with four goals and Winkoff scored three. Game MVP Licciardi scored two goals, assisted on three others and won 10 of 17 faceoffs, and Riley Cox had a goal and two assists as the Seahawks completed an 18-1 season.

“When the ball is moving and the defense is turning its head and doesn’t know where the ball is, it’s fun to be part of,” Licciardi said.

As Laviano noted, “When we’re swinging the ball, it’s impossible to stop us. If it’s not me, it’s someone else. Today it was me.”

The defense was impressive, too. Long-stick middie Matt DeGennaro excelled with five ground balls and goalie Devin Burdo made six saves.

When Penn Yan (17-3) scored the first two goals of the third quarter, Cold Spring Harbor answered. Strough had a man-up goal and Cox scored at even strength to make it 12-3. There was plenty of time to plan the ice-bucket dumping on coach Dennis Bonn, a ritual that felt particularly good on the hot, humid afternoon.

“Everything clicked. We saved it for the right time,” Bonn said. “We have a lot of offensive weapons. With our first attack and our midfield, it’s pick your poison with those six. And we did a great job defensively. We held a good team to four goals. We didn’t do anything different, but when you have Licciardi at the X and the ball is going into the back of the net, your defense gets better and better.”

Licciardi said the fast start and the fact that many of the starters participated in last year’s championship game were crucial. “The experience from last year’s game really helped,” said Licciardi, who, like Laviano and Strough, is only a junior. Winkoff, whose brother Ryan started on last year’s team as a senior, is a sophomore who exploded for 14 goals in five playoff games.

“We came out and punched them in the mouth,” Licciardi said of the fast start. “Then when we got the lead, we played smart.”

And they played free and easy with their big cushion. Laviano recalled last year’s 9-8 victory over Cazenovia in the state final, which was a lot more stressful than Saturday’s blowout. “Last year was crazy,’’ he said. “This year feels just as great, but getting here was much harder. Our bodies are beaten up.”

Just ask Licciardi. He had the blood to show for it, but all the Seahawks showed their guts.

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