Joey Spallina dreamed of this moment from the first time he picked up a lacrosse stick.
Tie score. 25 seconds left. And the ball in his stick.
From there it played out just the same as it must have many times in the Spallina family backyard, with Joey scoring the game winner to lead his team, Mt. Sinai, 14-13, over Manhasset in the Long Island Class C boys lacrosse championship game at East Islip Middle School.
"When I picked it up I was just thinking of dodging hard and creating a slide but they didn’t slide so I just came around the side and stuck it in the top corner." Spallina said.
Spallina scored six times, and all of them were vital against a Manhasset squad that came in loaded with talent. Both teams were regulars this year in national rankings in numerous publications.
"He’s just a generational player," Mt. Sinai coach Harold Drumm said. "He’s phenomenal. We knew at the end it was just give it to Joey and let him make something happen. I know this was a dream come true for him."
Mt. Sinai (16-1) came out strong and held a 4-3 lead after the first quarter. That was the first time this season that Manhasset (15-1) had trailed at the end of any quarter.
"We told them this was going to be a tight game because Manhasset is a phenomenal team," Drumm said. "We knew even a three or four-goal lead could just change like that. It was a game of momentum."
Gavin Takacs scored for the Mustangs early in the third quarter to put them up 11-6 but everyone in the building knew that Manhasset was not just going to go quietly into the night.
They scored the next two goals before Spallina got one to restore Mt. Sinai’s lead to four. Manhasset then scored five of the next six goals, culminating with a goal from Rory Connor that tied it at 13.
Manhasset could have had more in the fourth quarter if not for stops by goalie Matt Graffeo against Connor and Manhasset’s always dangerous Aiden Mulholland.
"We play against great shooters all the time," Graffeo said. "These guys have some big time commits and it was great just to play on this stage."
It was a game that lived up to the hype — and then some.
"This is just awesome to be out here and in this situation," Spallina said. "To be able to play in this big of a game is a dream."