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Mac O’Keefe scores 7 goals to lead Syosset to Nassau A title

Mac O'Keefe #3 of Syosset, right, gets pressured

Mac O'Keefe #3 of Syosset, right, gets pressured by Brendan Nichtern #22 of Massapequa during the Nassau County varsity boys lacrosse Class A final at Hofstra University on Tuesday, May 31, 2016. O'Keefe recorded seven goals and an assist in Syosset's 18-12 win. Credit: James Escher

When Mac O’Keefe scored on his first two shots, he knew it would be a good night.

“When those first few shots go in, you’re feeling it. It got me going,” the Syosset senior attack said.

It seemed to get the entire team going. O’Keefe scored seven goals with an assist as Syosset overpowered Massapequa, 18-12, Tuesday night to win its second consecutive Nassau Class A championship at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium.

The Braves improved to 16-2 and will play for the Long Island Championship on Saturday at Hofstra against the winner of Wednesday night’s Suffolk Class A final between Connetquot and Ward Melville. Massapequa, which got five goals from Justin Lynskey, finished 14-4.

“To win back to back championships in this conference is next to impossible,” Syosset coach John Calabria said. “The level of lacrosse in Class A in Nassau County is one of the highest in the country.”

O’Keefe, who signed to play at Penn State, showed that he is an elite player with superb footwork and finishing skills. His big night gave his 57 goals for the season, best in Nassau County. “The kid steps up on big stages. He always does,” Calabria said. “A game like this shows the status of that young men — both in terms of his character and his ability.”

O’Keefe scored twice early when Syosset opened on a 3-0 run, but Ryan Tierney scored twice in the first quarter as Massapequa forged a 4-all tie. Matt Benus (three goals, three assists) scored consecutive unassisted goals for Syosset in the second quarter and the Braves led 8-6 at halftime.

Massapequa never got any closer. O’Keefe and Benus were part of a three-goal flurry to start the third quarter and O’Keefe scored three times during a 5-0 run spanning the third and fourth quarters that provided a 16-8 lead. The game was physical and the penalties were especially damaging to Massapequa because Syosset scored five man-up goals.

“We’ve struggled with the man-up this year,” Calabria said. “I was nice to see them figure it out.”

Calabria also cited the play of faceoff specialist Alex Giovinco who won 22 of 32 draws and turned one of them into an unassisted goal. “He was the MVP of the game,” Calabria said. “He allowed us to control the tempo.”

A fast tempo at that, just the way the players like it. “We know we’re one of the most high-powered offenses,” Benus said. “Anyone can finish and we’re not afraid to shoot. We’re always going for the best look, not the first look.”

The Braves looked pretty good from any angle Tuesday night.

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