When Jackie Gatti went to the sideline after being assessed a yellow card with less than two minutes left in Thursday night’s Nassau Class A girls lacrosse championship, she watched nervously as Massapequa clung to its one-goal lead.
When Port Washington proved its resilience, tying the score and sending the game to overtime with 33.7 seconds left in regulation, Gatti hoped that she’d have a chance to redeem herself.
Gatti fired a free position into the top left corner of the cage just 45 seconds into the sudden victory overtime, and her five goals were the difference in top-seeded Massapequa’s 8-7 win over No. 3 Port Washington at Adelphi’s Motamed Field.
“I just could tell that when she was on the sideline with the yellow, she just wanted to get in there,” said coach Megan Protano, who now has to prepare for Middle Country in the Long Island championship at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Adelphi.
Defender Erin Tierney was also assessed a late yellow card, and like Gatti, she more than made up for it for Massapequa (11-5).
She left the field with 2:12 to play but returned with Port Washington threatening to win in regulation. The Vikings had a chance at a goal after a foul positioned Massapequa’s goalie, Sophia Cardello, behind the cage, but Tierney stepped up and intercepted the entry pass with less than three seconds left to force overtime.
“When me and Erin Tierney got the yellow cards, I thought it was over,” Gatti said. “I was so mad at myself. Then when Erin came up with that catch, oh my God, I wasn’t even thinking.”
Tierney, like Gatti, was motivated.
“I just knew after the yellow that I had to do something to get us back,” she said.
Tierney’s interception came after Port Washington closed the game on a 5-0 run. The Vikings trailed 4-0 at halftime, but things changed in the second half.
Rachel Rosen was electric for the Vikings (9-8), scoring twice and assisting two other goals during the game-changing run. Her sister, Rebecca, and Lily Avazis also scored during the spurt, setting up the game-tying tally from Michaela Gearty.
“It’s never going to be a comfortable lead with them because they fight,” Protano said of Port Washington, who won a triple-overtime game in the semifinals against Syosset. “The coaching staff on the sideline never felt comfortable with the lead because they’re that good.”
After Gatti’s emphatic winner, Massapequa celebrated with Cardello, who made 11 saves. She went to the ground hard in the pileup and left the field with her ankle wrapped in ice. Protano said Cardello went back to Massapequa with the team’s trainer, and she expects the freshman to play in Sunday’s game.