Massapequa midfield Isabella Grosso (middle) celebrates with her teammates, after...

Massapequa midfield Isabella Grosso (middle) celebrates with her teammates, after scoring the game winner against Ward Melville in the Class A Long Island championship game, Saturday, June 1, 2024. Credit: George A Faella

Most teams would feel deflated after giving up a four-goal lead in the fourth quarter before heading into overtime. But for better or worse, Massapequa has been in many tough situations throughout this season. Between a new coaching staff, graduating its entire starting lineup and entering the playoffs on a five-game losing streak, nothing’s been simple for the Massapequa girls lacrosse team.

Instead of feeling defeated, Massapequa viewed this as a culminating moment. The final test in what has been anything but an easy season.

“We have been in that position before where we have given up a lead and we know how to dig ourselves out of a hole,” junior midfielder Isabella Grosso said. “I think that’s where we really came up clutch. It wasn’t an unfamiliar feeling and we knew what we needed to do.”

Specifically, Grosso knew what she needed to do. After missing a quality scoring chance earlier in the game, she wasn’t going to allow that to happen again. When Grosso received a pass from Savanna Appleton in front of the cage, she took one step and sent the winning goal to the left corner as Massapequa defeated Ward Melville, 9-8, in double overtime to win the girls lacrosse Long Island Class A championship/Southeast Regional final on Saturday afternoon at Longwood High School. Grosso scored with 1:17 left in the second overtime period.

“I had the same opportunity for a shot earlier in the game and I missed it and I knew if I ever got that opportunity again, I would capitalize on it, so that’s what I did,” Grosso said. “When Savanna passed me that ball, I knew what I had to do and I put it in the back of the net.”

The goal delivered Massapequa its second straight Long Island Class A championship. Massapequa (10-7) advances to play Fairport in the state Class A semifinals at 1 p.m. on Friday at SUNY Cortland. Fairport defeated Massapequa, 10-9, in overtime in last year’s state final as Massapequa has another chance at its first state title in program history.

“These girls had a chip on their shoulder because no one really thought much of us going into this year because we graduated every single starter from last year, it was a brand new coaching staff, so no one really knew what to expect out of us,” coach Brendan Gaghan said. “And I think this team in this game showed exactly what they’re made of.”

Ward Melville (16-4) scored the game’s first three goals before Massapequa countered with a 3-0 scoring run over 3:51 to tie the score at 3 with 1:55 left in the first quarter. Addison Labriola, who scored four goals, scored twice in the second quarter as Massapequa took a 5-4 lead into halftime.

After Massapequa extended its lead to 8-4 after the third quarter, Ward Melville scored the final four goals of regulation, led by MJ Timpanaro scoring three of her five goals over that stretch. Timpanaro scored the tying goal off an assist from Grace Mulham with 2:37 left in the fourth quarter.

“This game sums up our season,” said Gaghan, who celebrated his 29th birthday Saturday. “We’ve had our ups, we’ve had our downs but these girls have never given up at all. We’ve had games where we’ve been down 5-0, 6-0 and it built us up to this game and the girls were ready for it. A double overtime game, they were built for this.”

Kiera Durnin had eight saves, including a stop with 9.1 seconds left in the first overtime period on a free-position shot to send the contest into a second overtime.

“I thought of it as a regular shot and there was no pressure because I didn’t want to psych myself out,” Durnin said. “I just stayed in the moment. I could tell where [the shot] was going to go and that was one of the best feelings I’ve ever felt. In overtime. Obviously every single thing counts, so it was really exciting after that and I knew we could win it the next time we got the ball.”

Even with basically a whole new team and coaching staff, Massapequa remained confident it could build off last year’s success.

“If you would have told me at the start of the year we’d be Long Island champions, I would have been like, ‘We have a good shot at it,”’ Gaghan said after a pause. “But right now the way we’re playing, I feel we can beat anyone in the country and we’ve been building and building to here.”


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