Led by Conor Braddish’s hat trick and stout play in net by goaltender Kyle Turri, the West Islip boys lacrosse team defeated Chaminade 8-7. The highly anticipated matchup was played in blustery conditions at West Islip High School on Saturday.
The win over Chaminade, ranked No. 3 in the Under Amour/Inside Lacrosse High School Power Rankings, capped an impressive week for the Lions, ranked No. 11 in the same national poll. The two-time defending New York State Class A Champions defeated Sachem North (No. 19 UA/IL poll) 12-9 this past Tuesday and Sachem East 14-4 on Thursday.
The game through the first half was a tough defensive battle as the teams went to the half tied at two. But as has been tradition with West Islip in recent years, the Lions came out roaring in the second half and took control of the game.
After swapping goals early in the third quarter to knot the game at four, West Islip rattled off four consecutive goals to give the Lions what appeared to be a comfortable 8-4 lead.
But Chaminade would not go quietly as the Flyers scored three goals in 30 seconds to cut the West Islip lead to 8-7 with 9.9 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. However, a faceoff win by Braddish secured the Lions’ victory.
While West Islip’s defense through the first 47 minutes of the game controlled Chaminade’s potent offense, largely keeping its shooters on the perimeter, the unit seemed to loose focus in the game’s final minute.
“Our defense is focused and talented when they are on task,” said Scott Craig, West Islip's head coach. “But in the final 40 seconds, they got high on themselves. When they stay within the confines of their game, they are a very good unit.”
Craig was decidedly more pleased with the play of his net minder, who finished the game with 12 saves.
“He was outstanding,” the head coach said of Turri. “Since he became the starter (last season) he has risen to the occasion in every big game we have played.”
Turri, however, deflected his coach’s credit to his defense.
“We knew we had good matchups defensively and the defense allowed me to see the ball really well,” he said. “There wasn’t a need for me too make many great saves.”
The offensive star of the game was Braddish, who finished the game with four total points. The senior midfielder also won several big face-offs that helped swing momentum in favor of West Islip.
With Chaminade having tied the game at four with 10:29 left in the third quarter, Braddish won the ensuing faceoff and scored a fast break goal at the 10:23 mark to give West Islip a 5-4 lead, one they would not relinquish.
With a little more than one-third of the season behind them, some might view West Islip’s 6-0 record as a bit of a surprise. But the head coach feels that point of view is merely the “assessment of others.”
“We have a number of quality players on this team that may have played in the shadow of Nicky (Galasso) and (Andrew) Hodgson,” Craig said. “We have three kids that were All-County as juniors and another who played first midfield on the gold medal winning Empire State Team.”
And Braddish added, “Even though we lost some kids (to graduation), it proves that we still have kids that can play.”1 2 3 4 Final Chaminade 0 2 1 4 7 West Islip 2 0 2 4 8
West Islip Scoring: Conor Braddish 3G/1A, Mike Sagl 2G, Drew Federico 1G/2A, Nick Aponte 1G/1A, James Tucci 1G
West Islip Goalies: Kyle Turri, 12