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Shane Mandel leads Syosset over Massapequa for Nassau AA title

Syosset's Shane Mandel races downfield in the second

Syosset's Shane Mandel races downfield in the second half of the Nassau County varsity boys' soccer Class AA final. (Nov. 12, 2012) Credit: James Escher

During the regular season, both games between conference rivals Massapequa and Syosset were decided by one goal with the Chiefs coming out on top each time.

Monday's county final almost had the same story line, except this time the fifth-seeded Braves (15-2-1) won 1-0 over second-seeded Massapequa (14-2-1) to claim the Nassau Class AA Championship. It is the first county title for Syosset since 1998.

Shane Mandel scored the winning goal, his fourth goal of the postseason, in the 12th minute off a cross from junior Nico Valentino. Senior goalie Josh Haberman made three saves in the shutout.

"We knew it would be a game like this," eighth-year Syosset coach Brett Waxer said. "We knew it would be a one-goal game, so they knew how important it was to get the first goal. We knew it would be a grind."

Syosset's defense did a great job limiting Massapequa's shot attempts. Led by centerbacks Adam Nessim and Doug Enga, the Braves made it difficult for the Chiefs to get many opportunities.

"All the games have been like this, they've all been evenly-matched," Massapequa coach Keith Stanley said. "I don't think there's anything we could've done differently at this point. Syosset was one goal better today, and they deserve it."

Syosset will face Brentwood in the Long Island Championship on Wednesday at Dowling at 6:30 p.m.

"We're not overly cocky, but we're very confident," Haberman said. "We feel like we can play with anyone. Anyone can be beat."

Waxer echoed the confidence of his players: "I told them before the game, this journey doesn't stop today," he said. "Their confidence level is where it should be. When we play the way we know how, this is a dangerous team."

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