Ryan Tierney, Massapequa’s star senior attack, admitted he thought he’d come to the end of the road when his team trailed by five goals late in the third quarter and was facing a lights-out goalie in Farmingdale All-American Matt DeLuca. “Wow! This could be it. My last time in a Massapequa uniform,” Tierney said.
Don’t put away those unis just yet. Tierney scored with 18 seconds left in the third to end an 18-minute drought and launch a dazzling comeback as the Chiefs scored the final eight goals to stun Farmingdale, 12-9, on Thursday in a Nassau A semifinal at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium.
“He’s an amazing goalie. I don’t know how he made those saves,” said Tierney, one of several players victimized at point-blank range by DeLuca, who made eight of his 12 saves in the first half, when the Dalers (14-3) built a 7-4 lead that grew to 9-4 on Tommy McPartland’s fourth of the game with 4:32 left in the third. “It was a little frustrating, but we stayed with it. Just keep shooting and mix it up.”
Tierney, who will play for his father Seth at Hofstra next year, scored four goals and Casey Kimmel added two goals and an assist as Massapequa (14-3) advanced to the Nassau A title game against Syosset at 8 p.m. Tuesday at Hofstra.
“Ryan is a game-changer. He’s a special player,” Massapequa faceoff artist Sal Americo said of his best friend. “That goal [late in the third] was a big thing. We were feeling a sense of urgency.”
In the fourth quarter, he was Americo the beautiful on faceoffs, winning seven of eight to trigger the Chiefs’ vaunted transition game that had been averaging 15.5 goals per game before running into the 6-5 wall named DeLuca. “The team needed me. When I can win faceoffs and run, that’s how we make things happen,” Americo said.
Tierney made things happen in a different fashion, when he intercepted an attempted clearing pass, raced in one-on-one on DeLuca and scored to make it 9-7 with 7:49 left. “I saw the defender lean down. The ball bounced once and I put on my skates to get it,” Tierney said.
The blitz continued. Kimmel and Timmy Ley scored to tie it at 9 and then defenseman James DeTommaso scored a rare goal after a faceoff win by Americo to give Massapequa the lead. Kimmel and Tierney scored into an empty net in the final minute.
“DeLuca made save after save in the first half and we were shaking our heads,” Massapequa coach Tim Radomski said. “But we just kept shooting. We had to challenge them and start chipping away.”
The tie-breaking goal by DeTommaso was a heartbreaking chip off the old block for venerable Farmingdale coach Bob Hartranft, who coached his final game after amassing 708 victories, third most in New York state history among boys lacrosse coaches. DeTommaso’s father James and uncle John both starred for Hartranft at Farmingdale.
“It’s been great coaching against him. We’ve had a lot of great games,” Radomski said. “He’s a legend and he’ll be missed.”