They spent the off-time sharpening a system that works for everyone.
No. 2 Friends Academy waited 11 days between its final regular-season matchup and Friday night’s Nassau Class D semifinal at Hofstra against No. 3 Oyster Bay.
The Quakers held a two-goal lead at halftime, then pulled away for a 12-5 win. Friends Academy advanced to the Nassau Class D title game for the third straight season.
“I think the boys were really biting at the bit to get the playoffs underway,” Friends Academy coach Walt Carswell said. “I knew they’d be tough, but that first half was a little bit tougher than I would’ve liked.”
Senior Will Bystrom led Friends Academy (11-6) with four goals and an assist. Will Hirschfeld had three goals, and Cooper Schultz added a goal and two assists in the Quakers’ eighth game this spring with 10 or more goals.
“It’s all in the team offense. I wouldn’t have been able to do any of that without my brothers out there,” Bystrom said. “Last week we put in hours and hours on our offense, just moving the ball, creating a system that’s going to work for everybody.”
Bystrom scored three goals in the second half and two in the third quarter as the Quakers outscored Oyster Bay 3-0 in the third frame.
Eighth-grader Peter Sapienza scored three goals for Oyster Bay (11-6), including their only tally in the second half. Bystrom, Hirschfeld and Nick Nyitray tacked on goals for Friends Academy in the fourth quarter.
“Our defense really locked down, which helped us a lot,” Hirschfeld said. “We had a lot of momentum moving from the first to the second [quarters], and we were able to pull through."
Friends Academy, which won the Nassau and Long Island Class D titles in 2021, lost to Cold Spring Harbor in the county championship last year. The Seahawks went on to win the state championship.
The Quakers will face top-seeded Cold Spring Harbor for the Nassau title again this spring. Friends Academy takes on Cold Spring Harbor for the Nassau Class D crown at Hofstra on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.
“After coming off the loss last year we’re really fired up,” Hirschfeld said. “We’ve grown as a team a lot, practiced hard working as a team, just doing everything preparing to get better for the moment."
Said Carswell, “I think the guys are up for the challenge, as they always are."