In order to keep the pace slow, Manhasset had to keep the ball moving fast.
“The coaches told us all week, don’t get glue in your sticks. Keep moving the ball,” Peter Lapina said.
Lapina stuck it to rival Garden City, scoring the tie-breaking goal midway through the fourth quarter as Manhasset defeated the host Trojans, 7-4, Saturday in a Nassau B game that also was the 133rd Woodstick Classic, the nation’s oldest continuous boys lacrosse rivalry.
“We worked on shooting low, but I had missed high a couple of times,” Lapina said. “I came around the net, held the ball and got it down.”
That goal gave the Indians a 5-4 lead with 6:11 left and, after Marc Psyllos continued his dominance on faceoffs, gave them a chance to implement their clock-killing strategy. “Marc did a great job on faceoffs all day,” Lapina said of Psyllos’ 11-4 advantage at X. “After that goal, we wanted to keep the ball in our possession as long as possible. We worked on that scenario all week. It’s hard. You know you’re going to get checked, but this game means a lot, so you have to take it.”
The Indians were able to elude Garden City’s tenacious defenders for so long that in desperation, the Trojans used goalie Teddy Dolan to double-team and freshman Aidan Mulholland scored with 1:35 left and, after another faceoff win by Psyllos, hit the empty net again 29 seconds later.
“Putting the ball in a freshman’s hands in that spot shows you what we think of him,” Manhasset coach Keith Cromwell said of Mulholland, who committed last year to Michigan before the NCAA changed the early-recruiting rules for lacrosse.
Dolan made eight saves to keep the Trojans in the game until Mulholland’s clinchers, despite Psyllos giving the Indians extra possessions. In fact, goals by Cole Dutton, Liam Muldoon and Kyle Steinbach had given Garden City a 3-1 lead midway through the second quarter. “Their defense is good and it looked like they knew what we were doing,” Lapina said. “We switched a couple of things on offense. Our whole plan was to play it slow.”
Once Manhasset rallied, sparked by Mike Farrell’s two goals, including the tying goal on a slick pass to the slot by Mulholland, slow was the way to go on offense — by design.
“Our best games this year have been when we have long possessions,” Cromwell said. “We respect Garden City and we wanted to value the ball. I know our kids want to go to the cage, but it was a total buy-in by our attack and middies to keep that mentality.”
They were quick learners.