ALBANY, N.Y. — Lakeland/Panas’ boys lacrosse squad was ready to go when it played in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class A semifinals against Section 11 champion Ward Melville at the University at Albany’s John Fallon Field on June 7.
Rebel senior Tim Fallo was especially game, registering a team-high three goals to go along with an assist but Ward Melville was simply too much to handle in a 9-6 Patriot victory, ending an outstanding Lakeland/Panas season.
“I thought we played hard for all 48 minutes,” Fallo said. “We executed our game plan for most of the contest but a couple mistakes cost us in the end.”
The game started off as a back-and-forth affair with a goal by Fallo tying the game at 3-3 with 5:45 remaining in the second quarter.
Fallo’s goal was ignited by a save from Kevin Dyckman, who garnered 11 saves against the Patriots.
“Kev made a great save and we were able to push in transition and I was able to get an open look,” Fallo said. “This gave us a lot of confidence.”
Traditional Long Island power Ward Melville was confident as well, scoring the last four goals of the second quarter to take a 7-3 lead at halftime.
“They got open step downs and put the ball in the net,” Lakeland/Panas senior captain Sean Makar said.
Ward Melville scored a fifth-straight goal early in the third quarter before Fallo started a mini-Rebel run with two goals, cutting the Patriots’ lead to 8-5 with 3:07 to go in the third quarter.
“It started with the defense making key stops and we were able to move the ball quickly on offense and get good looks,” Fallo said. “We knew that we still had a good chance to win.”
The two teams exchanged goals, with Makar (1G, 2A) scoring for the Rebels with 4:10 to go in the final quarter, slicing the Ward Melville advantage to 9-6.
“They went into a zone late in the fourth and I was able to get my man behind the goal and got a step on him then put it in the net,” Makar said.
The Rebels unfortunately got no closer but the loss could not dampen the incredible season the team had as it earned back-to-back trips to the state final four and its third sectional crown in the last four years.
“All of us seniors have been playing together since we were young kids so this season meant a lot for us to get back to where we were last year,” Makar said. “This season was definitely one to remember.”
One big reason why it was one to remember for the Rebels was because it heeded the words of its coach Jim Lindsay right from the start of the season.
“This is something I know that we will never forget,” Fallo said. “Coach told us from the beginning that our hard work would pay off in the end and he was right. This team was special.”
Joe Janavey (1G, 1A), Sean Laukaitis (1G) and T.J. Bryan (3 faceoffs won) also contributed for Lakeland/Panas, which finished 18-4.