Written by Mathew Levine, email@example.com Thursday, 29 May 2014 09:25
The Syosset Braves lacrosse team saw the scoreboard light up early and often in the goals column in a Tuesday afternoon Class A semifinal clash with the Hicksville Comets.
By the time it was midway through the first half, the Braves had already jumped out to a 10-1 lead. Sophomore Mac O’Keefe found the net five times adding two assists and junior Alex Concannon tallied four times to lead Syosset. The Braves finished with a big 21-9 win to advance to the final.
Syosset, who hadn’t been getting out to fast starts in recent games, knew it was an important factor coming into the semifinal match against Hicksville.
“The last five or six games we haven’t had a quick start so we’ve been working on that all week. We kind of had a repertoire of giving them a lot of rest this week in practice so they’d be fresh for this game,” said head coach John Calabria.
Throughout the day, O’Keefe was able to maneuver in tight spaces, as well as flashing strong stick work with behind-the-back and no-look passes and shots. O’Keefe credited his time playing box lacrosse- the game’s indoor version that originated in Canada- where he honed those skills.
“I play box lacrosse and it’s all in tight spaces so I try to work myself in the crease and get open and I got opportunities today,” said O’Keefe on his goals.
The Comets didn’t go down quietly though. From the end of the second quarter until just past the halfway point of the third, the Comets cut the lead to four goals on three separate occasions, led by senior Pat McCormick’s three goals.
“We just made a couple of adjustments and kids started finishing plays in front of goal, defensively, everybody just stepped it up a bit,” said Hicksville head coach Chuck Arnone.
However, the Comets weren’t able to close the gap any further as their last goal came with 5:43 remaining through McCormick’s extra man offense finish.
In the end, Syosset was too strong, closing the game out with eight unanswered goals. A lot of Syosset’s strong play on the attacking end can be owed to the strong chemistry of O’Keefe and Concannon.
“I love playing with him [O’Keefe]. We’ve really become really good friends and evolved this year. Last year he was on and off with another kid, this year being on the field is a big help for us,” said Concannon.
Hicksville will be left to rue their semifinal struggles. However, the Comets can take pride in a strong overall season, even if it came up a bit short.
“The kids played very good, we finished in the final four. Our goal was to get here and see how we’d do,” said Arnone.
For Syosset it’s getting exactly where they wanted to be.
“Last year we didn’t make it to the county final and the season didn’t go as planned, so this year has been all about getting to this point,” O’Keefe said.