If it happened in a movie, you’d call it cliche. But to see it unfold in real life in front of your eyes was simply incredible.
The lights went out at Miller Place as the Panthers and Mount Sinai were about to begin overtime tied at 5 in Suffolk Division II girls lacrosse play last Monday. The scoreboard went blank, the stadium lights went dark and nobody knew exactly how long the blackness would remain.
Mount Sinai was huddled up, intensely game planning for the overtime period. The Miller Place players used the time a little differently. The Panthers started singing, dancing and making the most of the situation.
“I kind of let my guard down, and I said ‘Have at it,' ” coach Dan Spallina said. “They are young kids, the game is fun.”
Fans in the stands began swaying to the music using the lights from their phones to faintly brighten up the field. Others went to their cars and turned on the headlights, creating almost a spotlight on the Panthers.
But Miller Place also meant business. Senior Amelia Angelo enjoyed the moment to let loose with her teammates but knew once the game started back up, the Panthers weren’t leaving without a victory.
“At the time when the lights when out, that was a team moment,” Angelo said. “I brought everyone together and said ‘Guys, this game is meant for us. I know we are going to win.’ ”
And it didn’t take long into overtime for Miller Place to prove that. Angelo scored off an assist from Selia Lyons 32 seconds into the extra period to give Miller Place a 6-5 victory over Mount Sinai, one of the top programs on Long Island in recent years.
“We deserved that,” Angelo said. “I feel like we’ve been working for this since the second grade. And people are surprised that we won, but I went in knowing we were going to win that game.”
Miller Place, 10-3 overall and 9-3 in Suffolk II through Wednesday, has been a program on the rise in recent seasons. Monday was a statement victory for the Panthers after finishing 8-7 last year after two straight sub-.500 seasons.
“This program deserved it,” Spallina said. “This team deserved it more than anything.”
Natalia Altebrando had four saves Monday and has been an integral part of Miller Place’s improvement.
“Natalia is a soldier,” Spallina said. “She’s the only goalie on our roster, she gets probably 500 shots taken on her a day, she never asks to get off. She’s another kid that deserves it.”
Spallina said he’s probably watched the winning goal back 200 times and remembers just standing there in amazement as the players rushed Angelo. He called the scene leading into overtime and the result “movie-esque.”
“I don’t know, man. To me, it was a magical moment,” Spallina said. “To me, it’s everything high school sports is about. The anxiety, the fun, just the togetherness, it was everything. And obviously, us winning in overtime made it that much more of a memory for us. It was magical, it really was.”
Lacey Downey (West Babylon) broke 300 points Thursday … Alyssa Studdert (Half Hollow Hills) broke 200 points April 30 … Emma Kelly (Plainedge) broke 200 points Tuesday, Alyssa Perez (Bethpage) reached 100 points April 11.