Nine lives: West Islip kings of Suffolk again
STONY BROOK, NY -- When the horn sounded to signify West Islip's ninth consecutive Class A Suffolk County boys lacrosse championship was official last night, goalie Jack Kelly raced to the sideline and made a theatrical bow to the crowd.
Once again the Lions were at their best when the lights were brightest. Kelly made 11 saves, Ryan Wieczorek notched two goals and three assists and West Islip defeated Ward Melville, 9-6, before a spirited crowd of more than 3,000 at Stony Brook's LaValle Stadium.
West Islip (18-1), which has won 50 straight Suffolk games, faces Syosset on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at Hofstra. Ward Melville finished 15-4.
"I've always wanted to do that," Kelly said. "The crowd was great. You can see how much love we get from the community. This is an amazing feeling."
He experienced a different sort of feeling during the game's key sequence. Ward Melville's Jack Bruckner had just scored his third goal to make it 9-6 with 3:16 left. Then Bruckner won the faceoff and broke in alone on Kelly. "I thought he'd go low pipe and it hit me right in the chest," Kelly said. "The rebound came right to my feet and I was able to make the clear."
The Lions broke a 4-4 halftime tie with a dominant third quarter. Tom Moore and Anthony DeLuca scored in the first minute and Wieczorek picked out two corners with unassisted efforts to make it 8-4.
"I don't think their goalie thought I had the angle on him," Wieczorek said. "There was a lot of pressure on us. No one wants to be the ones to end the streak."