Welcome to MSGVarsity.com’s Memorable Mondays, a summer-long series that looks back on the top players, games and moments from the past season and gazes ahead to 2015-16. As the summer goes on, we’ll compile the lists and them post here. New lists will be posted every Monday at 3 p.m.
In Week 3 of Memorable Mondays, we look back at the top five exciting endings from 2015-16 on Long Island.
No. 5 Connetquot vs. Ward Melville, Suffolk Division I football quarterfinals
Anthony Del Negro knew he could do it.
He saw the ball snapped, watched as the line opened up in front of him and, in that moment, he knew he was going to block this kick.
The Connetquot junior had already done it once in the game, but he decided, as soon as he lined up, to do it again. So, he did.
Del Negro sprinted past the Ward Melville players in front of him and stuck his hand up. He felt the ball hit his palm and he knew, he had done it.
Del Negro’s final-second field goal block (WATCH IT HERE) capped off a wild and emotional victory for the T-Birds who staved off a ferocious Ward Melville rally to walk off the field with a 41-40 victory in the Suffolk Division I quarterfinal.
“I saw a huge gap right between the guard and the center and I knew, I had to just time it,” said Del Negro. “I had to do it for my team I had to be the person that does this. I knew I was going to block it, I knew right away.”
No. 4 Islip vs. Garden City, Long Island Class A girls soccer final
For many reasons, Alyssa Sparks was feeling quite nervous.
She’s just a freshman, and she was taking the biggest shot in the history of the Islip girls soccer program.
“Coach told me I was here for a reason,” she said. “There's my reason right there.” Sparks’ goal in penalty kicks lifted Islip to a 4-3 shootout win over Garden City at Adelphi University to capture the Long Island Class A championship.
The score was 0-0 after regulation.
“The first thing I thought was that we made Islip history,” Sparks said. “Islip has never made it to states before. I couldn’t help but smile.”
No. 3 Amityville vs. Floral Park, Long Island Class A boys soccer final
Rolman Guardado has played many different positions for the Amityville soccer team this season, from left midfield to right midfield to forward.
On Nov. 8, the freshman played a new role – hero.
Guardado scored the lone goal in the 99th minute (WATCH IT HERE) to lift Amityville to a 1-0 double overtime win over Floral Park in the Long Island Class A final at Farmingdale State College.
It is the Warriors first-ever Long Island championship.
“It’s just crazy,” Guardado said. “As a freshman, to win it for your team, for the first time, unbelievable. It’s unexplainable. You can’t put it in words. It’s going to stay [in my heart] for the rest of my life.”
No. 2 Connetquot vs. Smithtown East, Suffolk Class A boys lacrosse semifinals
The box score for the biggest goal of the regular season for Connetquot read Grippo to Grippo.
And since he scored the overtime winner against Ward Melville on April 26, Collin Grippo has been trying to pay back his younger brother.
That happened a month later when GQ Grippo scored the biggest goal in school history 1:24 into overtime off a feed from Collin (WATCH IT HERE) to lift Connetquot to a 13-12 win over Smithtown East in the Suffolk Class A semifinals at Dowling Sports Complex.
The second-seeded Thunderbirds advanced to the county final for the first time ever.
“It feels great. As my brother said we’re having a hell of a time out here,” said GQ, who had four goals. “We’re doing everything we can. All the seniors wanted this for so many years and its great to see the get there.”
No. 1 Long Beach vs. Bellmore/Merrick, Michelino Division hockey finals
With 18.5 seconds left on the clock in overtime, Jon Olson stood at center ice awaiting his penalty shot.
He drove toward the net, made a move to his left, and eventually put the puck past Long Beach netminder Shawn Kennedy.
The goal (WATCH IT HERE) sent the team and the raucous Bellmore/Merrick fan section into a frenzied state as the program clinched its first county title with a 5-4 victory at Long Beach Arena.
“I didn’t know if I was going to be able to do it,” Olson said about standing over the puck before the penalty attempt. “I started tearing up, hearing everyone [in the crowd].
“I took one stick handle and looked at his blocker and it was low. I just had to fire it.”
The win completed a perfect season for the Bulldogs – in more ways than one.
Bellmore/Merrick, ranked No. 11 in the Tri-State by MSG Varsity, improved to 21-0 after the Game 2 victory in the Michelino Division finals. Even more incredible, they defeated Long Beach five times (three in the regular season and twice in the playoffs).