They threw their sticks in the air and piled on each other near the West Islip goal. Sachem North's coaching staff rejoiced, the fans screamed and the battle was won. It was a thing of beauty for the Black & Gold faithful.
The North boys lacrosse team beat nationally-ranked West Islip, 13-12, in sudden death overtime Wednesday afternoon. Phil Schaefer tied the game in the final two minutes and scored the game-winning goal with 2:47 in the extra period for Sachem (2-0).
"It's surreal," said Sachem coach Jay Mauro, as West Islip walked off their field, heads down, shoulders shrugged. "This win is bigger than just our team. It's about the program, the school, the community."
Michael Andreassi recorded five goals and four assists, Jack Cabble had four goals and Schaefer had three goals and two assists. Goalie Ted Matos made 21 saves.
The score was tied 6-6 after the first half. Both teams exchanged goals for the remaining two quarters, but the tension was at its highest when West Islip's Nicky Galasso scored with 4:42 left in regulation to put the Lions up, 11-10.
Andreassi scored a goal off a pass from Timmy Lang at 1:56 to tie the game, but Galasso scored about 10 seconds later after West Islip won the draw following Andreassi's goal.
Schaefer hustled through traffic and unleashed a shot past Lions' goalie Kyle Turri with 1:20 left and both teams played a heart-wrenching final minute with West Islip (0-1) holding possession until the regulation horn sounded.
In overtime, Andreassi took a pass from Jack Cabble behind the net towards the right corner. He cradled the ball through two West Islip defenders and plummeted towards the goal. Schaefer took a floating pass from Andreassi, who tossed the ball over the net, and leaped as he jabbed at the ball and scored.
"We knew who had to go to the cage and if we saw an opening, we'd take it," Schaefer said. "
The victory marks just the second time a Suffolk County team has beaten West Islip in close to a decade. The Lions came into the game ranked No. 1 in the nation and are the Goliath of New York lacrosse. Not today.
"It proves that Sachem is coming back after the split," Andreassi said. "Sachem lost its rep and we're here to get it back. We can't let our heads get to big. We have to stay composed and hopefully we'll win more than 14 games, make the playoffs and get that county championship."
The Flaming Arrows travel to Massapequa's Field of Dreams park to play Syosset on Saturday at 7 p.m.
1 2 3 4 OT F
Sachem 3 3 4 2 1 13
West Islip 5 1 2 4 0 12
Sachem: Andreassi (5g, 4a); Cabble (4 g); Schaefer (3g, 2a); Jack Gannon (1 g); Cody Ciolino ( 1a); Angelo Armine (1 a); Tim Lang (2 a).
West Islip: Nick Galasso (5 g); Rob Moore (3 g); Kelly (1 g); Drew Federico (1 g, 1 a); James Sagl (1 g); Conor Braddish (1 g,1 a); Gelhardt (3 a); Andrew Hodgson (3a).