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 2 of Memorable Mondays, we look back at the top five teams from 2015-16 on Long Island.
No. 5 Wantagh baseball
Elation radiated from Jimmy Joyce’s face as the same wind that carried his game-winning home run over the fence seemed to push him around the bases.
It was the top of the ninth, Wantagh’s half. Williamsville East’s Charlie Mack had retired the first two batters before falling behind Joyce two balls, no strikes. Joyce guessed he would see a fastball, and Mack served one belt-high and over the plate.
“I just tried to put my best swing on it,” Joyce said. “I connected, and the wind did the rest.”
Blowing from right to left, the wind boosted the ball’s trajectory over the left-field wall. Teammates flooded the area between Wantagh’s third base dugout and home plate. Joyce removed his helmet as he floated towards second, raising it triumphantly above his head as he circled the rest of the bases.
The climb out of a four-run hole was complete.
Three more outs in the field sealed Wantagh’s first baseball state title since 1998, this one a 6-5 victory at Union-Endicott High School.
“I don’t think it’s hit me yet,” Joyce said as teammates and fans celebrated around him on the infield moments after the final out.
Bobby Hegarty threw 120 pitches in a complete game. After tossing three straight one-hitters in the playoffs, Hegarty allowed five hits and five runs in the first two innings. He allowed three hits over the next seven.
Wantagh (25-5) won five one-run playoff games on the road to a first state title since 1998.
No. 4 Cold Spring Harbor boys lacrosse
With a bloody cut on the bridge of his nose, Matt Licciardi looked like he went through a war.
Except, the toughest part of the New York State Class C final for the Cold Spring Harbor junior was the postgame.
“I got a little excited after the game and head-butted my teammate and cut my head,” Licciardi said.
During the game, Licciardi and his teammates cruised to a 15-4 win over Penn Yan to win a second straight state title at Middletown High School.
“There’s no words to describe this feeling right now,” said junior Ian Laviano, who had four goals and one assist. “It’s just as great as last year or even better. To get here again was really hard this year. It’s just unbelievable.”
After struggling in back-to-back wins over Babylon and Pleasantville, Cold Spring Harbor (18-1), ranked No. 6 in the Tri-State by MSG Varsity, erupted for 10 first-half goals to lead 10-1 at the break.
It was vintage Cold Spring Harbor, with quick ball movement and shared scoring.
Defensively, Cold Spring Harbor limited Penn Yan (17-3) to eight goals below its season average. It was a marked improvement from the win against Pleasantville, when Seahawks coach Dennis Bonn said his team didn’t rotate defensively.
“[They] all did such a great job defensively to hold a very good team to four goals is something to be said,” Bonn said.
And there’s something to say about win a second straight state championship, with a loss to Locust Valley the only mark in a sterling season.
“It shows a lot about the team, to come back here and do it again,” Licciardi said. “Once you win the state championship you have a huge X on your back. To come back here and win again is really impressive.”
No. 3 Garden City girls lacrosse
Katie Muldoon settled into her routine early with eight consecutive draw controls and hustled down the lacrosse field to help lead Garden City with two goals and three assists as her team scored seven straight through the first 10 minutes.
Muldoon added three goals later on and Garden City beat Yorktown, 16-5, to win its first state Class B championship since 2012 at SUNY Cortland.
“This is a dream come true for our team,” said Muldoon, one of 17 seniors. “We never got to experience this and this is the opportunity of a lifetime. We really wanted to get the momentum going, that’s how our team works. We get momentum, so if we have a fall through on defense, we still have a comfortable lead and can pull through.
“Our team chemistry, it’s been working since day one of this season and it really showed. We had heart this game and we wanted to win. We were hitting our cutters and getting open for each other and working as a team.”
The Trojans (21-1) had possession for most of the first half and went on a dizzying 7-0 run through the first 10 minutes behind quick passes, clean cuts and accurate shots. Muldoon and Kerry Defliese scored two goals apiece in that span and Jackie Brattan, Michaela Bruno and Jenn Medjid each added one. Defliese had three goals and Brooke McDaid added a goal and four assists.
Muldoon scored on a free position to go ahead 9-1 with eight minutes until halftime, but Yorktown (17-6) fought back two minutes later with four straight to make it 9-5 at the half.
Garden City mirrored its fast start and quashed a Yorktown comeback attempt with another 7-0 run to open the second half. Muldoon scored less than two minutes into the second and again to go up 15-5 with 10:49 left and her team held strong for the win.
No. 2 Newfield football
The team that made big plays all season suddenly was on the other end and what seemed like a safe halftime lead was reduced to just one in the third quarter.
In Newfield’s first 11 wins of the season, the Wolverines' average margin of victory was 35 points.
Now, against a MacArthur team known for its second-half comebacks, Newfield found itself in a fight.
“We always know there’s the next play,” senior Elijah Riley said. “We never get flustered. Everyone knows they have another chance to get the job done and do what they have to do to finish their assignment.”
Riley finished his, scoring a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns to lift Newfield to a 41-33 win over MacArthur in the Long Island Class II final at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium.
It is the second LIC for Newfield, which also won the title in 2011. It caps the first undefeated season in program history.
“It’s awesome,” said quarterback Ryan Klemm, who was 13-of-18 for 241 yards and three touchdowns. “They always refer to the 2011 team and we wanted to do something better, something they didn’t do. 12-0 was definitely the goal.”
Riley had a six-yard touchdown, Klemm connected with Jelani Greene, Denzel Williams and Austin Gubelman for TDs, the last coming with no time left in the second quarter as Newfield went into the break with a 27-7 lead.
But MacArthur roared back, cutting its deficit to one before Riley (18 carries, 149 yards, 3 TDs) delivered with an 8-yard touchdown run followed by a 30-yard scoring run to increase the Newfield lead to 41-26 with 2:49 left in the fourth.
No. 1 Massapequa girls soccer
It seemed that hope was lost.
But in a 48-second span, hope was restored. And Hope Breslin was revitalized.
Mikayla Pugliese scored the equalizer and Breslin knocked in the winner as Massapequa captured a third straight state girls soccer championship with a 3-1 win over Baldwinsville in the Class AA final at SUNY Cortland.
“It’s amazing to win three in a row,”Breslin said. “We knew we just had to regroup and play our game.”
And hope that she and her teammates would do what they did the previous two years: walk off the field triumphantly on the season's final day.
Massapequa was out of sorts in the first half, struggling to generate offense, until Pugliese struck. The senior’s header off a corner kick midway through the first half tied the score at 1. "We needed something to get us going," Pugliese said. "I was like, 'It's our game now.' "
Breslin then regained the form that helped her finish the season with 29 goals. She settled the ball off a deflected shot, dribbled and fired a strike that hit the crossbar and dropped on the hour mark.
Breslin sealed the win with a header off a corner kick by Julia Hannon with just under two minutes remaining. The goal ignited chants of “Three-peat! Three-peat!” from the crowd. Defenders Bianca Furci, Melanie Hingher and Skylar Vitiello and goalkeeper Rebecca White -- who, along with Breslin, were on all three title teams -- then walked off the field one last time, medals around their necks.
Massapequa became just the fourth Long Island girls soccer program to win three consecutive state titles.
“I started to cry a little knowing this was my last game as a Chief,” Hingher said. “But I’m so happy that this was how it ended.”