With the sun beating down on Shuart Stadium in Hempstead and the temperature hovering near 90 degrees, Keegan Maxwell saw Jared Leake make a move past a defender and knew he could end a grueling tournament with a championship.
Maxwell got a pass and shot from 8 yards out to end overtime and give the Long Island Outlaws a comeback 10-9 win over Rock Lacrosse from Rockville Centre to take the Varsity A Warrior Long Island Classic title at Hofstra University in Hempstead on Sunday.
“It was back and forth,” Maxwell, an attacker, said. “They went on a few runs, then we made a huge run at the end.”
The final opening began because of a well-timed move by Leake, a midfielder, to find the open Maxwell.
“I knew I needed to beat my guy to possibly have a shot or have an assist to win the game,” Leake said. “I split from right to left and saw Keegan sneak out and just dumped it off to him and let him shoot.”
The game had been sent to overtime after a penalty by Rock Lacrosse and a last-second shot attempt. That allowed the Outlaws to get possession to start overtime.
“That big shot at the end to give us the ball in overtime really paid off,” attack Ryan Glidden said. “We got the opportunity.”
The goal put an end to a weary tournament for the Outlaws, one of 99 teams in 10 age brackets playing at Hofstra, Mitchel Field and Nassau Community College over two days.
The toll of the games and weather were evident as Leake put an ice bag up to his leg to ease his cramping, which he said helped him recover, but not as much as winning did.
“We haven’t won a championship the entire summer so this felt pretty good,” Leake said.
It might have felt even better for Maxwell, who said the local competition is one of the biggest reasons to come out and play at a local tournament.
“We all know each other from different places,” Maxwell said. “I used to play for that team. It was pretty big scoring the game-winner.”
The Rochester Flyers defeated the Long Island Tide, 7-6, in the marquee championship game earlier in the day.
The tournament was run by Hofstra head coach Seth Tierney, giving a direct college presence when many of the players are seeking whatever exposure they can get in front of coaches from top programs. Mike Malave, the Team Revolution coach whose four-year Hofstra career ended after the 2015 season, said it’s enticing for teams to play in the spotlight of a top-20 lacrosse program.
“[The teams] are really fortunate and lucky because in other parts of the state, they don’t have a team or a school like this in their backyard to show up and play at,” Malave said.
The Outlaws had an extra push to perform in front of top coaches at Hofstra because the Classic marked their final tournament for the summer. It meant one more opportunity for Maxwell, Glidden, Leake and others to impress the college coaches who showed up.
“In order for me to go far, I have to be out here showing coaches what I can do,” Leake said.
Being an integral part of a championship goal likely won’t hurt.