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Massapequa wins first state boys lacrosse title

The Massapequa Chiefs celebrate after defeating the Fayetteville-Manlius

The Massapequa Chiefs celebrate after defeating the Fayetteville-Manlius Hornets to win the 2014 New York State Class A High School Boys Lacrosse Championship game at James M. Shuart Stadium on June 7, 2014. Photo Credit: Mike Stobe

The game was over for only a few minutes when Jim Byrns, 5 feet, 4 inches of determination and scoring savvy, got wrapped up in the moment. Draped around his shoulders like a royal cloak was a banner which, when unwrapped, read "Massapequa Lacrosse 2014 New York State Champions," courtesy of the Chiefs' booster club which had it made up before Saturday's state Class A boys lacrosse title game. Now that's confidence.

It was well placed.

Massapequa scored 12 straight goals beginning late in the first quarter and rolled to a 16-2 victory over Fayetteville-Manlius before a crowd of more than 1,800 at Hofstra, most of them from Massapequa, which won the school's first state boys lacrosse title.

In the other state playoff finals played at Shuart Stadium, Yorktown edged Jamesville-DeWitt, 10-9, in Class B. Bronxville beat Cazenovia, 13-10 in the Class C title game. .

"It's a great thing to make history for a school like this," senior midfielder Craig Berge said. "For a town like Massapequa, which has a great lacrosse community, it's kind of surprising that this is our first one. For me to be able to do it with all of my brothers here is an unreal feeling."

The Chiefs' brotherhood featured eight starting seniors who, according to Byrns, "have been friends since the third grade. This is an inexplicable feeling."

But their success is easy to explain. Massapequa (19-2) scored 23 goals in Wednesday's semifinal victory. Saturday, aided by junior Phil Brady's dominance on faceoffs (he won 16 of 19), the Chiefs outshot F-M, 37-18, and did its typical goals-in-bunches routine.

Senior attack Ian Kirby scored three goals in two minutes in a 4-0 third quarter, also assisting on Nick Yevoli's goal as Massapequa broke away from a modest 6-2 halftime advantage, built partially on two goals from Byrns. Yevoli's hat trick included two in a 6-0 fourth quarter when Massapequa scored four goals in 3:35.

"All year we've been scoring in bunches," Berge said, "but this game was all about our defense. Everything started with our goalie and our clears. You can't score unless you have the ball and our defense set us up big time with a lot of key stops."

Senior goalie Matt Valdini made seven saves and the senior defense of Nick Capuano, Matt Caracappa and Nick Balzano helped forge a 47-18 advantage on ground balls and prevented the Hornets (18-4) from getting many good looks.

"There are very few words to describe this. It's been a great ride. I love these boys," Balzano said, pointing to Caracappa and Capuano.

"We've been boys forever. We've been talking about this since the seventh grade. It's a great feeling to get it done," Caracappa said.

Capuano said he didn't mind that the "D" often was overshadowed by an A-plus offense. "Our offense is terrific. They deserved the attention. But playing with these boys right here makes the job easy," he said.

The offense, as it has done often in a season-ending 17-game winning streak, was diversified, with 11 different goal scorers Saturday. "We have so many guys with talent and so much depth," Kirby said. "They came up big with or without me and I was able to finally wake up in the third quarter and get some goals."

Massapequa coach Tim Radomski, who held up the championship trophy to the adoring crowd, said, "I'm going to miss these seniors. I'll be sorry to say goodbye. What a humble group."

What a historic season.


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