Newsday’s Bob Herzog previews Saturday’s boys lacrosse state championship finals at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, which will include Long Island teams in Class A, B and C. Full brackets can be found at nysphsaa.org and newyorksportswriters.org.
Class A: Ward Melville (20-1) vs. West Genesee (18-2), 12:30 p.m.
This truly is a game of thrones. West Genesee has won 15 state titles while Ward Melville, currently ranked No. 1 in the country by Inside Lacrosse, has won nine, including last year’s incredible comeback win over Pittsford. They have split six previous championship-game matchups, the last in 2013, a 16-4 victory that was their first under current coach Jay Negus and first since 2000. Joe Cuozzo was coach for the previous eight.
The Wildcats will have additional motivation as it is the final game for coach Mike Messere, the nation’s all-time leader in career victories with 846. West Genesee beat Lancaster, 15-6, in Wednesday’s semifinal. Kevin Sheehan had seven assists, Jack Howe scored four goals and Max Rosa and Ryan Sheehan added three each.
The Patriots also showed tremendous firepower in the semifinal, walloping Niskayuna, 18-2. Matt Grillo scored five goals and four other Ward Melville players netted two each. Faceoff whiz Mike Giaquinto (16 of 20 vs. Niskayuna) could be the Patriots’ not-so-secret weapon. He won 19 of 22 in last year’s state finale, including all four during the dramatic final minute of regulation.
Class B: Garden City (17-3) vs. Victor (20-1), 3 p.m.
Victor has lived up to its name, winning the last three state championships — as a B team in 2017 and 2015 and as an A team in 2016, when it edged Ward Melville, 7-5. The Blue Devils crushed East Syracuse Minoa, 18-3, in Wednesday’s semifinal. Camden Hay scored four goals and highly recruited goalie Chayse Ierlan went coast-to-coast to open the scoring. Ierlan is the brother of Albany’s record-setting faceoff artist T.D. Ierlan.
Garden City’s offense looked solid in a 14-4 semifinal win over John Jay Cross River. Liam Curtin and Kyle Steinbach scored three goals apiece and mobile defenseman Colin Hart had a rare two-goal game.
The Trojans won back-to-back state titles in 2012-13 and have six overall.
Class C: Islip (18-2) vs. Westhill (16-5), 5:30 p.m.
Another day, another piece of school history for Islip. The Buccaneers already have won their first county and Long Island championships in boys lacrosse and are looking to make it a trifecta after advancing with a 14-4 victory over Pelham in Wednesday’s semifinal.
Jeff Atlas, whose goal with 7.4 seconds left dethroned three-time state champ Cold Spring Harbor in the Long Island C final, scored two goals with six assists against Pelham. Mike Bienkowski and Chris Giuliani each had a hat trick.
Westhill blitzed West Seneca East, 17-3, in the semifinals. Luke McAnaney scored two goals with four assists and Owen Matukas added two goals and three assists. Westhill is also looking for its first state title.