CORTLAND – The players on the Massapequa girls lacrosse team left every single bit of themselves on that field at SUNY Cortland. They were the first team in program history to make it to Cortland, but they hope not to be the last.
Their grit showed midway through the second half, trailing by three goals before scoring three straight in less than a minute. It showed when Ashley Melillo scored not one, but two tying goals over the final six minutes of regulation. It showed in overtime when it seemed Massapequa had scored the winning goal, only to be waived off by a questionable false start penalty.
You be the judge. Was this a false start? This would-be state championship winning goal in overtime for Massapequa was called off due to a false start. Massapequa ended up losing, 10-9. pic.twitter.com/Zg5zArkAeK— Owen O'Brien (@owenobri) June 10, 2023
But Massapequa fell just shy of winning the program’s first state championship in a 10-9 overtime loss to Fairport in the state Class A final at SUNY Cortland on Saturday afternoon. Lily Kondas scored the winner off an assist from Katherine Mallaber with 48.6 seconds left for Fairport (19-2).
“It was definitely a hard fight,” said Joely Caramelli, a senior midfielder. “We fought as hard as we could all year long to get here and even though we came up short, we are so proud of everybody. We still made history and we are still proud of everything that we achieved and we are excited to see what our program can do next year and the years beyond.”
Caramelli and Melillo each finished with three goals. Jessica Giller added a goal and two assists, Bridget Valentine had a goal and an assist and Caitlyn Dorman also scored. Allison Petrullo and Ellen Leisen each had an assist as all seven Massapequa point scorers were seniors.
“This senior class is something very special,” coach Erin Kollar said. “I’ve known them since they were in elementary school. We were going down memory lane (Friday night) and it was very special. They set the mark for Massapequa lacrosse this year.”
Massapequa (12-6) trailed 7-4 and called a timeout with 11:12 left in the second half. Caramelli drew a foul and scored on a free position with 10:19 left. Valentine and Dorman followed with goals as Massapequa scored three goals in 35 seconds to tie the score at 7.
“Every timeout, every chance we had to talk to them, we always believed,” Kollar said. “We knew we had plenty of time and we knew in an instant, we could flip the switch and show them who we really are.”
Melillo scored to tie the score at 8 with 5:33 left and again off an assist from Giller to tie the score at 9 with 1:32 left in the second half.
“We all just wanted it so bad,” Caramelli said. “Sometimes it’s not all about the better team, it’s about who wants it more and we showed that a lot throughout the season. Even though we wanted it so badly today, we just came up short.”
Massapequa had a few opportunities to win the game in overtime, including a free position by Giller that was called off by a false start penalty that appeared to be a questionable call by the referee.
“Unbelievable shot, unfortunately, the call did not go our way,” Kollar said. “Refs need to make those decisions and we just needed to keep our heads up and continue to play and get the ball back and get more opportunities.”
But even though the loss left Massapequa players crushed on the field following the final whistle, the players know how special this season was.
“We’re still the first Massapequa girls lacrosse team to ever make it here and that alone is just a huge achievement,” Caramelli said. “Even though it wasn’t the outcome we wanted, we’re still really happy and proud of everything we’ve done this season.”