Matthew Farrell picked up the ball at midfield and bulldozed down the middle of the lacrosse field through a gap in the defense for a goal from about 10 yards out to give Syosset its second lead in a fast-paced game that was tied twice within the first four minutes.
This time, however, his team didn’t look back.
JP Lannig scored his second of four goals on a feed from Mac O’Keefe to put top-seeded Syosset up by two in the final five minutes of the first quarter and the team rallied behind aggressive rushes, ground ball pickups, and good transition play on the way to an 18-8 win over No. 4 Port Washington in the Nassau A semifinals Wednesday at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium.
“We weren’t settling for the first look, we were getting the best look,” Lannig said. He deferred credit for his goals, saying he simply converted great setups from his teammates. “I think it was a pretty good win. We fought hard, got a lot of ground balls and were patient on our offense.”
Syosset (15-2) outshot its opposition and had an 8-1 advantage on ground balls through the first seven minutes, but the flow was largely even. Port Washington (9-7) took an early lead on a goal by Christian Athanasian and was a constant threat, but often turned the ball over and failed to get close enough for quality chances.
Syosset took a 6-3 lead at the end of the first on goals by Liam Kalbacher and Mike Elardo and made it 10-5 at the half after controlling possession and scoring in bunches. The trend continued in the second half, notably when O’Keefe scored three goals within one minute, 11 seconds to take a 17-7 lead at the end of the third.
“We had a slow start . . . but I was really proud of our guys because we kind of systematically figured it out during the course of the game and took it to them,” said Syosset coach John Calabria.
Added O’Keefe: “Every time you play a team a second time they’re going to play you better. They played more aggressive, they matched up a little better, but we figured it out and found a way to win.”