Continuing a trend from the regular season, West Islip’s defense has shut down several top offensive players in its four game run through the Class A high school lacrosse playoffs.
But the Lions defensive prowess will be put to the test Wednesday night when they face the Silver Warriors from upstate Niskayuna in the state semi-finals at Hofstra. Game time is 5:30 p.m. The winner will travel to Middletown High School on Saturday to face the winner of the other state semi-final between Ithaca and Fairport.
In advancing to the semis West Islip put together a dominating 9-0 second half on Saturday in 11-4 for the Long Island Championship. Niskayuna moved into the state semis with a 23-3 win over Mamaronek.
The game will bring together two nationally ranked teams. In the most recent Under Armour/Inside Lacrosse High School Top 25 Power Rankings, West Islip sits at number three while Niskayuna is ranked No. 19.
The challenge facing the Lions will be Niskayuna’s high-powered attack duo of Luke Goldstock and Lucas Maloney. On the season, the North Carolina-bound Goldstock has 75 goals and 132 total points while the Penn State-bound Maloney has chipped in with 72 goals. A third attackman, Matt Sexton (Penn St.), has 59 goals on the season.
Throughout the season, Niskayuna (19-1) has averaged more than 17 goals per game while the Lions (19-1) have allowed only 5.2 goals per game, which has shrunk to 4.5 goals per game in the playoffs.
Keeping Niskayuna’s attackmen in check will fall to the defense led by captains Anthony Santo and Pat Ryan, with fellow-captain Jack Kelly quarterbacking the defensive play calls as he guards the West Islip cage.
On offense for the Lions, the attack tandem of Tom Moore (55 goals) and Brendan Smith (52 goals) came alive against Syosset with five goals and three goals respectively on Saturday. The two had been held relatively quiet through West Islip’s first three playoff games.
West Islip has also seen more offensive production from others in the post-season as well. Jon Resse had back-to-back three goal games in wins over and while Anthony DeLuca has 14 points (5G, 9A) in four playoff games.