Essex's high-wire game tops Nassau in OT, 11-10

Knights get 3 in 3:09 to tie, then win, gain JuCo final

College Lacrosse

May 09, 2004|By Christian Ewell | Christian Ewell,SUN STAFF

In one sense, it seemed only right that top-ranked and undefeated CCBC-Essex should have advanced to today's championship game of the National Junior College Athletic Association lacrosse tournament at Essex - as it did in yesterday's 11-10 overtime victory - having proven its worthiness repeatedly over the season.

In another, however, Nassau Community College might have expected the chance to play for its 21st national title, given the upper hand it held over the Knights for 58 minutes, 57 seconds as the two teams met for the second time this year.

"If there was any justice in this world, the clock would have stopped at 59 minutes," said chuckling Nassau coach Richard Speakmann, whose freshman attackman, Tim McAleavey, scored seven goals in the game. "We just outplayed them."

But with an equally convincing argument resting with Essex (18-0), justice stayed out of the way as the Knights used their ability to score goals in bursts during what must have seemed like desperation time.

Down 10-7 with 3:09 remaining in the final period, Essex found the net in each of the final three minutes. With seven seconds left in regulation, it was Jonathan Beard who came off a pick play to send the game to overtime.

Forty seconds into the sudden-death period, All-America candidate Andy Bishop's short shot got past Nassau's Nick Dello-Iacono for the team's first lead of the game and put the Knights in today's 1 p.m. final against Herkimer (N.Y.) CC (15-1), which used yesterday's second semifinal to blitz Monroe (N.Y.) CC, 26-6. Monroe is 13-5.

Bishop's goal was his only one yesterday, despite a game-high 11 shots on goal. The misses were a source of anger, but they also softened up Dello-Iacono for the game-winner.

"I knew that they were going to try to play me on the high side," Bishop said, "and I figure that I'd try to set them up there and go under them."

The Knights had more shots on goal, 39-26, than Nassau, and Bishop won 14 of 22 faceoffs, but Essex seemed the more sluggish of the two, especially during the second period when the Lions outscored Essex 4-1 to take a 6-3 lead into halftime.

Typically, Essex made a second-half run. With two third-period goals by Jamie Musimore, it was able to tie the game early in the fourth, when Bishop assisted on a goal by Brandon Maynard with 13:01 left.

But Nassau, which lost, 14-7, in an earlier game between the teams, didn't buckle, and went on to take the 10-7 lead.

Matt Wade's second goal with 2:52 left closed the gap for Essex, followed by Evan Kay's second goal with 1:03 left in regulation, brightening the mood of the Knights' coach, Brian Duncan, who was well aware his team was more than capable of scoring one more goal.

"I was more composed in the final minute than when I was at 3:05," Duncan said. "At 3:05, I was pretty nervous, even though we knew that we had the ability to get the ball on the faceoff and bury something."

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